Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Anti-Prosperity Hypocrite

A few years ago, my mum chatted with a couple from my previous AOG church, and when they found out that she is attending New Creation Church, they told her to be careful because NCC is a "prosperity church". I have also heard this similar warning from various people and online over the years, and one thing struck me: the warning usually comes from people who are financially comfortable.

These people are enjoying financial prosperity but love to warn others about the teaching of prosperity in churches such as NCC, saying that such teachings cause us to be worldly. They also love to quote 1 Timothy 6:10 - "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil". They equate the teaching of prosperity with the love of money. The irony is that many of these people do have a lot of money but they don't consider themselves lovers of money. They have a lot of money but they disapprove of the church teaching its people how to have more money the godly way.

The same people naturally disapprove of the preacher being rich; they say that a preacher should be living a simple life. Setting aside the fact that it is almost impossible to set a universal standard for "simple life", these people demand a lifestyle for the preacher which they themselves do not want.  Some, like mike20, the commenter in one of my posts, even say that Jesus taught us to sell our possessions and donate the money to the poor. How many of them really believe that? After they have sold and donated all their possessions, they would be joining the ranks of the poor and waiting for handouts from others who have to sell and donate all their possessions. Is this the Good News?

In Luke 4:16-22, it is recorded that Jesus read from the book of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

After that, He sat down and said "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." What exactly is the "good news to the poor" which Jesus was anointed to preach? That the poor will remain poor on earth but they can expect great riches in heaven? What's so good about that?

Didn't Jesus also say in John 10:10 that He came to give us a more abundant life? Did He mean a more abundant life that does not include financial prosperity?

I have a suggestion for these anti-prosperity hypocrites. Why don't you sell and donate all your possessions and then quit your day-job, and preach full-time your anti-prosperity Good News for free? I may still not agree with your theology but at the very least, you have earned my respect.

46 comments:

luwin said...

That the poor will remain poor on earth but they can expect great riches in heaven? What's so good about that?

- Exceedingly good, Stanley. For the poor to hear the words of Jesus in luke 6:20,

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God."

would be exceedingly good indeed, wouldn't it?


Didn't Jesus also say in John 10:10 that He came to give us a more abundant life? Did He mean a more abundant life that does not include financial prosperity?

- I trust that by " abundant life/life in full" He meant "eternal life" - a relationship with God (Jn 17:3). This relationship certainly does not include the promise of financial prosperity.

You know, Stanley, although i don't agree with some things you write, i must say that i respect your efforts towards thoughtful examination and honest, open discussion of the Christian faith.

In that spirit, i urge you to consider this: Seeing as most of your posts are a defense of NCC or the prosperity gospel - written as responses to opinions or accusations from "non-prosperity gospel" Christians - will you be open to consider a few things:

1) Be honest, informed and fair about our theological position. You seem to caricature us as money-hating, poverty-loving people who are otherwise hypocrites. That can't be true! :D For a very small start, we value financial prosperity, we thank God for it. We just don't believe He promises it to believers in the Scriptures.

2) Be willing to concede that seeing as the prosperity gospel didn't flourish till post 1960s (or so), there has to be at least a nugget of truth in the collective wisdom of the previous 2000 years (nearly) worth of scriptural study and reflection by the people of God, who were neither preachers nor subscribers of the prosperity gospel as we know it today. Were they all deluded, veiled by the devil from the true gospel? How could they have missed it?! - If indeed it was as evident as you would have us believe?

3. Just as you would like us to understand the teachings of NCC for ourselves and not depend on hearsay, give us a similarly fair hearing. Come into our churches, hear from why us why believe the things we do, and exactly why we stand opposed to the prosperity gospel, and then decide for yourself which version of the gospel is more faithful to the apostolic one.

In love,
Luwin

Kaffein said...

@Luwin,
There is some flaw in your understanding of John 10:10 that Jesus came to give us a more abundant life. Because the actual verse is "I came to give you life, and life MORE abundantly."

If your interpretation of life is "eternal life", why would I need more eternal life in heaven? Does not heaven have abundant eternal life already since death does not exist?

I also find it difficult to understand that the 'life' you meant is 'eternal life' as in relationship with God. Now it's either you have a relationship with God, or you don't. I don't know how you can have MORE relationship with God.

But I can understand when you have more LIFE on this earth. Life as in good health, finances, prosperity, blessings. These can be in abundance.

Shalom,
Kaffein

S.A. said...

Good observation.

Liu said...

Hi Luwin

Going to other churches? Back to the ministry of death? Back to mixtures?

Been there, done that, for a good ten years of my life, but learnt nothing, did not have a relationship with God, the bible was just another story book of great men of God, and could not remember a single sermon I have heard from the pulpit for that good ten years, even though I was one of the early church pioneer, a cell group leader, a council member for church rebuilding.... and went into "God, dun come & bother me ... " mode for 2 years until He sent a brother of mine the Good News of Jesus Christ, as preached in NCC.

I now choose to read the Bible daily, sometimes more than once a day, remembers more verses than I did all 10 years add together, witness and share the Gospel effortlessly ... the Good News I received from NCC has transformed and is still working good in me, so I don't care what the nay sayers say otherwise.

By the way, you quoted the verse the poor that theirs is the kingdom of heaven ... you simply extract one verse and state your case? Look at the whole sermon on the mount by Jesus in Matthew. Take Matthew 5:20 for example, so is your righteousness more than that of the scribes and Pharisees? Cos otherwise you can't enter the kingdom of heaven! Yet this verse would contradict John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8. But God cannot contradict Himself!

Again have you fulfilled how Jesus has interpreted the Law at the sermon of the mount? Cos according to Jesus, if your right eye causes you to stumble you have to pluck it out, and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off.... unless you are telling me those who preached the Law has never lusted nor used his right hand to ....

So please, men, in and of ourselves can never live up to God's standards. That's why we need Jesus, Who came as Man, to represent us, fulfilled the Law, took our place, and connects us back to Abba God.

Shalom Shalom,
William Liu

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Luwin,
I'm no theologian, I just say what I say from a layman point of view.

I know God promised health and wealth in the Gospel for "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32)

I know my health and wealth comes from the Lord and I thank Him for it.

You said "we value financial prosperity, we thank God for it" but why do you thank God for it when you "don't believe He promises it to believers in the Scriptures"? How do you know your financial prosperity came from God since you believe that God does not promise it to you?

Be honest and clear about your theological position; you seem to be contradicting yourself.

luwin said...

@ Kaffein,

"Eternal life" is precisely that "more abundant life" - as opposed to the life we led before we came to know Christ.

That worldly, unregenerate life that leads to eternal death may include financial prosperity and health. In fact the NT, they are quite often correlated.


@ Liu,

You bring up some good examples on how we ought to understand the sermon on the mount. But please show me how i have mis-applied Luke 6:20.

Also, going to other churches means going back to the ministry of death? Goodness. Careful there, i don't think even J.Prince would say that. Statements like that kinda makes you guys come across like a bit of a cult.


@ Stanley,

We are all theologians - layman or preacher. Insofar as we think about God and talk about him, we are theologians. The question is whether we do a good job of it or not.

As for my apparent contradiction, a little bit of charitable common sense on the part of the reader is in order. All good things come from God, that is clear enough. (Jas 1:17) So i thank Him for them.

Here's an example to resolve the confusion:
My mum never promised me an Hongbao on my 18th birthday, but she gave me one, and i thanked her for it.

In the same way, whilst i don't believe that God has promised health and wealth to his people in our present, earthly lives, if i do come into possession of them, i thank God.

Remind me again, what kind of lifestyle were the apostles and the early Christians enjoying when Paul penned Romans 8:32?


Regards,
Luwin

Joshen said...

i think the difference here is this : Stanley, and me and the rest of us NCC-ers thank God for His promises and we thank Him before we see the manifestation, and have an assurance that God is good!

and there are those who thank God after they recieve the manifestation, but they believe its only because He decides to grant that request on a one -time basis.

the problem with that is that why are the sons acting like servants?
I read thechristianpost and there is this preacher saying we are all servants and God is grieved when we ask Him for blessings.. but Paul says we are sons!

A father would be grieved if a son does not seek Him for what he needs and instead runs after the world. Thats what Jesus meant by seek Him first, then whatever we need will be added.. Go to the Father first, and He is glad to love you..

Kaffein said...

@luwin who wrote>
"Eternal life" is precisely that "more abundant life" - as opposed to the life we led before we came to know Christ.

Kaffein>
Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." A person who comes to Christ will find rest. Did Jesus mean a one-time rest or a rest which is forever?

We realise the rest is two parts:
1. One is eternal rest as in rest from worldly sufferings and pain, ie at the second coming where Jesus will wipe every tear and there will not be sorrow.
2. The other is a continual coming to be in His realm of rest. Only when we keep coming to Jesus that we stay in His rest. The original words Jesus said is "Keep coming to me and I will cause you to rest". Remember a verse in the popular hymn "Take to the Lord in prayer" - All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. We are not in His realm of rest because we do not go to Him.

By the same token, Jesus said, "I come to give you life, and life more abundantly." Is this life - life in heaven or life on earth?

I will like to share two parts:
1. Life in heaven.
A person who has received Christ will automatically have 'eternal life'. This is the life Jesus gives to a believer. He has passed from death into life, darkness into light. He will never face death again but is ear-marked for eternity in and with Christ. Jesus could not mean life more abundantly in heaven because heaven itself is full of life already. Death does not exist.

2. Life on earth.
In truth, a Christian who had once received Christ should experience the Jesus kind of life in heaven and on earth.

A person can have life full of abundance on earth but he may not have 'life more abundantly'. He may be rich but he may also have the sorrows that come with it. He may be healthy but he can be subjected to fatal diseases and plagues. His life is life with abundance, not life abundantly. A son of God not only has life abundantly, but also life in abundance. He is a reflection in Christ of who God is.

Now how the 'life more abundantly' comes about is when he identifies himself more and more with whom God calls him in Christ - a son of God, a citizen of heaven, a king and priest of the Most High, etc.

When we know we are sons of God, we will live like sons; sons with a servant-king mentality not a servanthood-mentality.

A son does not serve to earn his wages, he is an heir already. A servant serves to earn his wage. However when a son serves, there is dignity and humility because although he is an heir, he is humble. Just like Jesus who is divine yet a servant king.

That is the 'life more abundantly' - to be able to do it not because we have to, but because we can.

The world cannot see God but they can see Christ in us. We are able to give, bless, speak life, lay on hands, speak healing and wholeness, etc just as our Father does because of Christ in us!

Another example of 'life more abundantly' is when Paul calls us 'ambassadors for Christ'. An ambassador does not live like his host country but rather his status and lifestyle reflects his origin country. The laws of the host country does not apply to him, neither does the situation or financial crisis around. His host country may be poor and needy but an ambassador lives according to the riches of his origin country. Likewise he does the work set aside by his origin country, not the host country.

This is the 'life more abundantly' I believe Christ speaks about. Many Christians want to identify themselves to the world by living like the world, especially in our mentality. Seriously the world is not rich as many Christians think to be rich is to be worldly. God put the riches in the world.

(cont'd)

Kaffein said...

@luwin>
That worldly, unregenerate life that leads to eternal death may include financial prosperity and health. In fact (in) the NT, they are quite often correlated.

Kaffein>
So if I am rich and worldly but one day I accept Christ, does it mean I must give away all so to avoid eternal death? By this words, are you saying my riches which can bring eternal death to me are more powerful than the saving grace and shed blood of Christ?

Surely this does not hold water because it was the very reason that Jesus came to save me - I am worldly and have unregenerated life. Since when did the pre-requisites of my material wealth come into the picture, pray tell me?

There is only ONE thing the bible tells me that leads to eternal death - that is rejecting Jesus who can give eternal life.

There is only ONE thing the bible tells me that leads to my physical death on earth - that is trying to attain a righteousness that comes from the Law. Interestingly Paul calls the Law the ministry of death.

Cheers,
Kaffein

Packrat said...

When you say that there is only ONE way that leads to physical death on earth, I would have to call you out on that. There are MANY ways that lead to physical death. Strict adherence to the Old Testament laws and promise are a sure way to spiritual death as the laws were strict, but physical death, that happened to lots of people...even (or especially) the faithful.

One quick question regarding this discussion:

In Jesus' ministry on earth, the recurring theme was that the spiritual was more important than the physical. Doesn't that mean that we should actually be looking for more spiritual blessings than material ones?

Onto my comment:

The main problem that people have with the prosperity gospel is that it tends to seem that the focus of the followers of said doctrine tend to focus on the material than the spiritual. Granted, there is an amazing faith that is displayed by some members of NCC and CHC when it comes to giving, but when a pastor preaches the prosperity gospel, there's a danger that people will see material blessings as the goal rather than the bonus.

Does the "prosperity gospel" church focus on spiritual blessings? Does it state that some blessings come in non-material terms? Are its products (its followers) willing to give it all up should God tell them to do it? Can the church let go of the money that it hoards in its coffers?

These are some key issues that disturb people who look at the prosperity doctrine. If you can honestly tell me that despite the preaching of the doctrine, people still can focus on God (and not say, the church or its leaders and the riches that they are blessed with), I'd say, all power to you. But if the congregation that listens to this chooses to shift their focus from the spiritual to the physical, then maybe there's something wrong with what's being preached. I don't attend NCC so I shall not proceed to judge.

There is a case for denying material wealth and the so-called inheritance that is due to us as sons of God:

If earthly parents know that some things are desired by their children but are not necessarily good for them, what more our heavenly Father? I would have to say that there are people who would be better off being poor for the sake of their eternal souls than rich and lose sight of heaven. You assume that God as a parent is an irresponsible one who will place His children in the path of temptation, dazzled by the glitz of the world around them.

And if that doesn't sound like a problem, I guess we should return to scripture:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Mark 10: 17-25

Thank you for reading.

Valen Minbari said...

I personally hates anyone who quotes from the bible. It is just a book and can be used to justify anything...

Remember the bloody Christian crusades? I'm sure they are justified by some quotes...

So save me the BS... Religion is based on faith... You either believe or not but don't start quoting the bible or any religious text to justify anything or support ANY argument.

In my opinion, to quote the bible to justify / support anything is hypocritical.

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Valen Minbari,
The bible is not "just a book" to us Christians; it is the Word of God which you, Valen, can choose to "either believe or not".

Yes, there are people who quote the bible out of context or misinterpret the bible BUT that does not detract from the fact that we Christians believe the bible is the Word of God.

By the way, my blog is meant for Christians to discuss Christian issues, and therefore we discuss based on the bible. I do not expect non-Christians to understand what we are doing here, and therefore this blog is not the right forum for them to debate about Christianity.

I am guessing that you, Valen, are not a Christian, so may I suggest that you save yourself from our "BS" here and take your ranting somewhere else.

Thank you.

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Packrat,
Perhaps you can email me your home address so that I can send some Cds of Pastor Prince's sermons for you to listen.

I look forward to read your comments again after you have listened to the sermons.

My email: stanleywong@ymail.com

Packrat said...

Actually, since you mentioned it, I went to look for a Joseph Prince sermon. I found the latest one (A vodcast on his site) and took a look at it and it's scarily similar to what I thought it was going to be:

1) He basically replaces argument with rhetoric. I'm not sure that there's much in there beyond the man's charisma and his affirmations. It reminds me of the "hellfire and brimstone" preachers who preach to frighten...just that he does the reverse.

2) He assumes that we can ignore the old testament laws while expecting old testament blessings. We should all claim the inheritance from old testament laws by grace. While I think that the grace of God part is true, I'm not convinced that we are to expect material blessings as a result of this grace.

3) His interpretations of the bible are backed up by...his own interpretations of the bible.
3 a) There's a lot of cutting and pasting from various parts of the bible to fit his interpretation of the word of God and not the other way around. This disturbs me quite a bit.

Grace and righteousness are not interchangeable. They are separate. The assumption that Jesus being sacrificed on the cross automatically delivers us from judgment is a flawed one. We will all be judged, but Christians will be judged based on how we carry our crosses. Righteousness is incompatible with sin. That's one of the central ideas in both the old and new testament. God's righteousness means that we should be judged and damned. God's grace means that we won't be damned. There's a distinct difference between the two.

I can see how the preaching of the "gospel of grace" could be attractive for some. But I feel that Prince's teachings aren't very deep; nor are they very convincing. I appreciate your attempt to convince me with Prince's literature but I think I'll save you the postage and track his message online.

Thanks for you offer though.

Liu said...

Hi Luwin,

Please read my post again. From your reply, I suspect you have problem understanding what you read. Or maybe I am wrong, cos you have already plucked your right eye out and chopped your right hand off, and you are now making an attempt to be poor so you could inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Tell you what, being poor is really easy, sell all you have and give it to the man on the street, and live on goodwill of others, and you have it, the kingdom of heaven.

But wait, make sure while you are poor, do not envy those who has a roof over their top, who has at least some good meals per day, and never covet even the primary school child who is eating his ice cream, or you would fall short of the sermon on the mount, and disqualify yourself to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Remember your righteousness must be more than the scribes and Pharisees who knows the 5 books of Moses inside out.

As for going back to ministry of death, bro, this is personal. As a man, I am not noble. Now that I believe I am having the best food in the best restaurant, I no longer has any desire to go back to the hawker centre. Sorry I don't want to be a hypocrite, I rather be very blunt. And when I have the chance, I never fail to invite others to the restaurant I am enjoying. However if they find the food not to their taste, they can always go to another place to eat. BUT it is only in this restaurant that I have tasted the goodness of the food that I am so willing to invite others to come. Last time when I was having hawker food, and not quite like the food, it was really tough inviting others to eat with me. In fact sometimes I wish they didn't know I was eating there!

Parkrat,

No offence I hope one day you no long need to be a rat in the park, but openly identify yourself, unless really, your name is Parkrat. Then I apologise for that.

I noted that you were quick to judge and jumped into conclusion that my Pastor is shallow, and what he teaches disturbs you. I didn't know we could judge another based on 1 sermon or even a few sermons. NOW I understand why GOD need to give us 66 books & more than a thousand chapters! Cos if He has given us only 1 book, you can be certain we will all be wondering Who He is.

By the way, I am really interested to know your conclusion on the statement you made:

God's righteousness means that we should be judged and damned. God's grace means that we won't be damned. There's a distinct difference between the two.

So what's the conclusion?

Can I help you? You just said God's righteousness means we SHOULD be judged and damned. Your next statement said BUT by God's grace we won't be damned. So isn't this the Gospel of Grace? By Grace we are saved, right?

Your statement clearly state that by God's grace we WON'T be damned, but you dropped the word JUDGE. Why? Is it because the judgement has been made on Jesus, our substitute?

You see, today your son did something wrong, and you tell him, "Son, I am righteous, and you have done wrong (JUDGE), so you have to be punished (DAMNED)." Then you realised that you are also forgiving and long suffering (Grace) so you WON'T punish (DAMNED) him, then what happened to the wrong doing (JUDGEMENT)? Sweep under the carpet? Someone has to pay for the wrong doing right? You, the father, will pay right? Or maybe you won't?

But my Abba Father is not like any earthly father, He loves us so much He gave us His Son Jesus Christ. That's why Abba Father gave His beloved Son Jesus Christ for us, as our payment. Jesus Christ was judged on the cross, so that our Abba Father, who is righteous, WON't damn us anymore because the price has been paid. Galatians 3:13 Paul stated that Christ has REDEEMED us from the curse of the Law ... unless, unless, unless you are still trying to redeem yourself from the curse of the Law?!

Shalom Shalom
William

Packrat said...

Liu: Thanks for confirming what I believed to be what are the basic characteristics of people who are blind followers.

Firstly: My handle is PACKrat. Get it right for goodness sakes. And hiding behind anonymity? Does it matter if I don't have a handle that is my real name? Are my queries any less legitimate just because I don't put my name on it? Will it matter any more to you if you found out that my name is Daniel? Frankly, I don't really care who you are either. Knowing your are William Liu really doesn't distinguish you from Adam in my book. If you're going to insult my handle, GET IT RIGHT.

Secondly: Could you at least TRY to address my points? Defend your pastor if you wish to. But please try to convince me that he is more than what he seems. Yes, it is a series of sermons that I have viewed and there probably is more to him than what I can see...therefore, I am MORE THAN WILLING to try to find out more. Would you like to do the same?

Thirdly: The fact that you basically repeated EXACTLY what I meant to say re: righteousness and grace does NOT even address what I got out of what Prince specifically said in his sermon. By writing that lengthy rant about what you THOUGHT I meant means that you weren't addressing what I meant to say.

Prince specifically said that because we had grace, we are free from judgment. I disagreed with that specifically because we know the nature of God: i.e. God is righteous and to believe that sin really doesn't matter BECAUSE of grace really is preaching something that is both dangerous as much as it is inherently wrong.

Tell me that this isn't what he preaches. I want to believe you but evidence seems to point to the contrary.

Kaffein said...

@ Packrat>
When you say that there is only ONE way that leads to physical death on earth, I would have to call you out on that. There are MANY ways that lead to physical death. Strict adherence to the Old Testament laws and promise are a sure way to spiritual death as the laws were strict, but physical death, that happened to lots of people...even (or especially) the faithful.

Kaffein>
Perhaps I was not clear in what I have written. I am refering to Christian believers. When a believer 'dies', the NT calls him 'asleep', not dead as in 'dead' like we call it now. Death no longer holds over a believer in Christ. This is what eternal life gives.

When a believer goes back to trying to obtain a righteousness that comes from the Law (ie works and self-effort), he has fallen from grace. When a believer falls from grace, the symptoms of physical death begins to set in, some of which may lead to an early 'sleep'. Thus it is vital that a believer continues in grace by resting in His love for them. In Jesus is life.

Packrat>
In Jesus' ministry on earth, the recurring theme was that the spiritual was more important than the physical. Doesn't that mean that we should actually be looking for more spiritual blessings than material ones?

Kaffein>
Whatever gave you the idea that the recurring theme was more about spirituality? In fact I see more physical ones than spiritual ones in His ministry on earth! I don't recall reading Jesus telling a person, "I have healed you. You cannot see it because it's spiritual but definitely you are healed... spiritually."
The bible tells me he made the blind eyes see, cast out demons, rebuked fever, raised the dead, make the lame walk, walked on water, etc more so than I see spiritual themes. I'm not saying there aren’t spiritual needs. Jesus met both the spiritual and natural needs, including material ones (eg water into wine, paying taxes)

Packrat>
The main problem that people have with the prosperity gospel is that it tends to seem that the focus of the followers of said doctrine tend to focus on the material than the spiritual. Granted, there is an amazing faith that is displayed by some members of NCC and CHC when it comes to giving, but when a pastor preaches the prosperity gospel, there's a danger that people will see material blessings as the goal rather than the bonus.

Kaffein>
Come and visit NCC for yourself. I assure you that NCC preaches Jesus and Him only. If you do not know me, I am a strong stickler for the Word. Yet I find the pastors exalting Jesus and Him only more so than my entire Christian life hearing Jesus in other churches put together. NCC always points back to Jesus who is the giver of blessings of health, prosperity and wholeness to whoever who comes to Him. "Focus on Jesus and let God handle the rest" is one of the main themes.

I am NOT defending them, Packrat. I don't need to. Singaporeans are a pragmatic and intelligent lot. No one bothers to queue unless it is something worthwhile.

(cont'd)

Kaffein said...

Packrat>
Does the "prosperity gospel" church focus on spiritual blessings? Does it state that some blessings come in non-material terms? Are its products (its followers) willing to give it all up should God tell them to do it? Can the church let go of the money that it hoards in its coffers?

Kaffein>
I can't say for other churches. Prosperity as the Apostle John writes is both spiritual and supernatural, and natural in ALL things. 3 John 2 says, "Beloved, concerning all things, I pray that you may prosper and be in health." (bold italics mine). The literal meaning in to verse for ‘all things’ include material wealth.

Packrat>
These are some key issues that disturb people who look at the prosperity doctrine. If you can honestly tell me that despite the preaching of the doctrine, people still can focus on God (and not say, the church or its leaders and the riches that they are blessed with), I'd say, all power to you. But if the congregation that listens to this chooses to shift their focus from the spiritual to the physical, then maybe there's something wrong with what's being preached. I don't attend NCC so I shall not proceed to judge.

Kaffein>
One can be a poor man and yet think about money everyday. One can be a rich man and yet focus on God everyday. So can one be a rich man and yet think of money all day long. It's not the money, Packrat.

Focus on Jesus is what churches ought to preach. He is so beautiful and lovely. If your wife is beautiful and lovely inside out, would you be looking at other women? Hence if the gospel is preached by churches with the focus on Jesus and His love, all other things (both spiritual and materials) fall into place in our lives.

Packrat>
There is a case for denying material wealth and the so-called inheritance that is due to us as sons of God:
If earthly parents know that some things are desired by their children but are not necessarily good for them, what more our heavenly Father? I would have to say that there are people who would be better off being poor for the sake of their eternal souls than rich and lose sight of heaven. You assume that God as a parent is an irresponsible one who will place His children in the path of temptation, dazzled by the glitz of the world around them.

Kaffein>
From the same passage, Jesus said, "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." What things was Jesus referring to? Yes, they are clothes, money, lifestyle, food, etc that the world runs after indeed!

Then it continues "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

What things that God will add? Yes, all these MATERIAL and ‘worldly’ things which the pagans run after. And God is giving to us His sons. Yet many are rejecting them. Since when did the word 'things' change from materials to spiritual? If we read the context, God will not only bless our spiritual needs, He will also bless our material ones. I'm not asking anyone to focus on the material but keep our eyes on Christ. He is so lovely to behold. And all things both spiritual and material things will fall into place in our lives.

Isn’t that prosperity when all things fall into place? The world calls it windfall; we call Jesus.

(cont'd)

Kaffein said...

Packrat>
And if that doesn't sound like a problem, I guess we should return to scripture:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Mark 10: 17-25

Kaffein>
When you come to Jesus boasting of your accomplishments and self-efforts (just as this man did), the Law will demand from you and say "One thing you lack". Whenever we try to justify our righteousness based on what we can do for God, the Law will point out something we lack.

Look, this young man is so near perfect! He is nearly like Jesus! He could have been an awesome disciple! Yet Jesus told him he lacked something. Remember it says Jesus loved him. But this young cannot receive Jesus’ love and disqualified himself when he came to Jesus in his own effort.

This passage can also be found in Luke 18. In the very next chapter 19 we see a similar rich man. A rather rich tax collector named Zacchaeus who got his wealth by cheating.

CHIEF collector Zacchaeus was so happy that Jesus chose to visit his house and associated with him. Zacchaeus was infamous with his overtaxing the people. All these while Jesus made no demands from this sinner, yet Zacchaeus was able to give up his wealth. In fact Zacchaeus offered to return FOUR times the amount he cheated!

One was a near perfect man, yet Jesus did not stop the young man when he walked away. This young man boasted of his own righteousness in the law. On the other side, we see a great cheater changed in the very presence of Jesus because he knew he was not worthy of Jesus. One kept all he had, the other gave back more than he stole. Wow... can you see grace at its best? The rich young ruler lacked generosity towards God and keep accounts with God. Law does that to us because it keeps account with God. So Jesus pointed to his lack - his heart was not rich towards God.

The key principle here is:
To receive Christ is to acknowledge that “ I cannot but Jesus only You can”.

It is hard for anyone who has not experienced grace to be rich towards God. Jesus told Simon the Pharisee that he did not love much because he did not think he was forgiven much. A person so full of himself and his own strength cannot receive. Only when we experience freely receive can we freely give as Zacchaeus did.

It is not the wealth that will disqualify us as what you have written, Packrat. If it is so, then God is very evil to have blessed Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, Job only to allow them to focus on their wealth. However the bible tells me God made them very very rich!

Shalom,
Kaffein

Liu said...

Hi Packrat

I really wonder who's having problem reading and understanding, and who's talking about hiding behind anonymity? Unless you are guilty conscious of it? and you the self ordained minister judged again, that the 20,000+ who attends NCC are BLIND followers.

And by the way, who started ranting in the first place? And did I deemed you were ranting? So u who embraces the Law judges freely. And that's why you felt being judged as well.

So I asked a young gentleman what is his name .. and he replied, my name not important lah, just call me powerpac. ??!!

And I am still waiting for your answer on Judgement. God judged that you have sinned, and then what happened? Do you bring a lamb and make an offering? I really need some enlightenment here.

Shalom, and my name is
William Liu.

luwin said...

@ Kaffein,

"I am NOT defending them, Packrat. I don't need to. Singaporeans are a pragmatic and intelligent lot. No one bothers to queue unless it is something worthwhile."

- Like Hello Kitty dolls! Wheee! :D

@Liu,

"Please read my post again. From your reply, I suspect you have problem understanding what you read. Or maybe I am wrong, cos you have already plucked your right eye out and chopped your right hand off, and you are now making an attempt to be poor so you could inherit the kingdom of heaven."


- That's your reponse? Making me out to be visually and physically handicapped who prides himself on poverty? Haha. Cumon, you can do better than that!

Okay okay. Let's do it this way: Assume that i am really dumb, and i require a step-by-step explanation on how I mis-applied Luke 6:20. Go. (:

Packrat said...

Kaffein: Thanks for taking the time to reply...but I think I have to disagree with you on certain points.

1) I do think that in Jesus' teachings, he was concerned with the spiritual as opposed to the material. Yes, the miracles that he performed was mainly in the physical realm and that was the manifestation of God's power in the realm of the physical. But whenever He talked about blessings, the blessings that he prized over all others was the spiritual.

2) I never said the wealth will disqualify one from heaven. Wealth has the ability to make us lose sight of heaven. Note that the people that you named that God blessed with wealth were people from the old testament. Were there many that were blessed the same way in the new testament?

I think that the one thing that the rich young man could not do was to let go of all he had. That's the one thing that wealth does. It's interpretation that he lacked humility (or something else...you weren't too clear about that). It's scripture that said that he turned away BECAUSE he had great wealth. In the rich young man's case, wealth was a stone that held him prisoner. The one thing that he could not let go of. And that got in the way of a willing heart. Zacchaeus was willing to let go of all that he had gained and showed repentance that prompted him to give back more than what he had taken.

3) In light of what the bible says, if God asked the church to give it all up, would the church be able to? If Jesus appeared to the congregation and told them to sell all their possessions to follow him, could they? This is a question that you answered with a simple reiteration of the fact that God blesses us both physically AND spiritually. I'd have to say that those things are (sometimes) in conflict with each other. The necessary requirement for the former is possibly a stumbling block for the latter.

It is willingness to let go of earthly possessions that I was wondering about. And I think that that is the mark of a true disciple. When Peter was called, his boat was almost sunk by his catch and his blessings overflowed. But when they got to shore, Jesus told him to follow him and they literally left everything and followed him.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:10-11)

From the 3 examples, I'd say that scripture's pretty clear about what is needed to follow Christ. It's not the automatic giving up of blessings that is required as that is merely the physical manifestation of inner intention, but the willingness of the heart to prize what is spiritual over what is material.

4) God gives us what we need. Luxury isn't something we need. Lifestyle is definitely not something we need. It's something we want. The church after Jesus' ascension were primarily using their funds to take care of their poorer brethren. Were there the same material blessings heaped upon the church? Sure. Maybe. But that wasn't the point of the new testament was it?

End of the day, I get where you're coming from. I think that it's admirable that there is this amazing revival; that so many have come to know the Lord through the work done in NCC. Me? I'm still not convinced by the doctrine that's preached by NCC. But that's just me.

Thank you for holding this dialogue with me though and I pray that you grow in your faith.

BTW: I'm really hoping that Mr William Liu there really doesn't represent NCC the same way that you do. I really don't have very much respect for him.

Packrat said...

To Mr William Liu:

"I really need some enlightenment here."

Yes...I really think you do.

Packrat said...

Mr William Liu:

And it's conscience...not conscious. To be guilty conscious does not even make sense.

"Hi Packrat (At least he got my name right)

I really wonder who's having problem reading and understanding, and who's talking about hiding behind anonymity?
(You were)
Unless you are guilty (conscience) of it(Grammatical mistake there)? and you the self ordained minister judged again, that the 20,000+ who attends NCC are BLIND followers. (Did not...you made that assumption yourself. I was talking about you. Who's got the guilty conscience now?)

And by the way, who started ranting in the first place? (You did)
And did I deem you were ranting? So u who embrace the Law judges freely. (Did I say that I embrace the law? Assumption on your part. Not anything I said)
And that's why you felt being judged as well. (When did I say that I felt judged? Is this a NCC thing where you interpret what you want from ANY text?)

So I asked a young gentleman what is his name .. and he replied, my name not important lah, just call me powerpac. ??!! (NICE. Missed the entire point...and got my handle wrong AGAIN! Can you read?!)

And I am still waiting for your answer on Judgement. God judged that you have sinned, and then what happened? Do you bring a lamb and make an offering? I really need some enlightenment here. (Lamb of God. Crucified on the cross. I thought it was implied. Did you fail your reading comprehension?)

Shalom, and my name is
William Liu.(I know your name Willy, you had it, like, in your post. Please. I DO read. And next time, try to bring your A-game when you're playing with the big boys.)

Kaffein said...

Good discussions, Packrat! I can't change anyone with my words. Well I wish you well too and may you grow in the knowledge of His love.

:)

Kaffein

Kaffein said...

@luwin:
Like Hello Kitty dolls! Wheee! :D

Kaffein>
Hey are you saying Hello Kitty dolls are not worth the queue? To them it's life and death.

Perhaps the Rock too. To many it's life and death, blessings and cursings. :P

Kaffein

Liu said...

Hi Luwin

OK, assuming you are dumb, and since you are dumb, no step by step explanation could help you, you need a miracle from God. Then when you are no longer dumb, then maybe you might begin to understand.

It's unfortunate, guess I have wasted my time ...

Hi Packrat

Nope, I don't play with boys, I am not interested in boys, big boys or men, I am sorry you are, and I am disturbed by your open declaration of it.

Anyway I deemed you failed your comprehension, so any further discussion with you is a complete waste of time.

I should have known. I should have spent my time playing with my wife, instead of being involved unknowingly with a boy, who plays with big boys.

Shalom Shalom
William Liu

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Packrat,
I am glad you took the effort to listen to Pastor Prince's sermon but from my personal experience, it is possible that you may not have fully understood what he's trying to say as some of Pastor Prince's teachings which you may have heard are built on the foundation of his earlier sermons.

I am not trying to convince you with Pastor Prince's literature; I thought you might want to listen to a series of sermons for a more accurate picture.

So I do hope you take up my offer and I don't mind the postage at all ;-)

Packrat said...

Heya Stanley,

I meant what I said when I said I'd find more of his sermons online. So don't worry about it. I haven't really closed that door yet. Presently, I'm really not looking for any answers and I think that I'm quite spiritually blessed where I am.

Just a couple of quick questions and I'd like to hear what your responses to these are:

1) Would you be willing to give up all the material blessings if God asked you to?
2) Do you think that the church would be able to "sell all their possessions" and follow Christ if they are called to?

I'm interested in seeing where the heart lies and I think it'll go a long way in my understanding of what Prince teaches if I could hear from his flock.

Thank you for the dialogue and I apologise for my actions adding to the troll-fest down here.

Packrat said...

To Willy:

I just followed your blogger profile and you don't exist. So I guess that your name could be something completely different from William Liu. I guess we only have your word for it so I think we can safely say that your call for non-anonymity was completely hypocritical.

Your childish comments and self-inflated claims of heterosexuality seem to be more of you trying to convince yourself rather than any judgment on anyone else's.

If you could step down from name-calling, perhaps you would make a better christian witness but since you can't seem to be able to do that, it's little wonder that people have such a bad impression of you and your kind. Please don't associate yourself with anyone else of the faith because you're really making us all look bad.

What you deem and what is is actually quite far off. I can see the toxins that you're trying to spread through your poisoned tongue and I really think that you've got severe anger issues that you need to deal with. Go see a counselor. Get some help.

And running away because you got in way over your head...Do that. It merely reinforces what the world sees you as.

Nice talking to you, William (If that's even your real name). I haven't had this much fun whacking a troll for a while.

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Packrat,

1) In all honesty, I don't know but it will definitely be a struggle; I'm not at that place yet. I would also need to be absolutely sure that I'm hearing from God and that is what He wants me to do. For the moment, I believe God wants me to be prosperous, to provide abundantly for my family and also to help others through my abundance rather than poverty.

2) This is exactly my point about the anti-prosperity hypocrites. They say God wants us to lead simple lives, etc but I seriously doubt any one of them would do that.

I am happy for you that you are already blessed where you are. Years ago, I and a few other friends were in a similar situation of looking for answers and we found them through the sermons and teachings we heard in NCC.

Shalom :-)

Stephanie said...

Hi Packrat,

Regarding Jesus call the rich young man to sell all his things and followed Him, Lord did lead me to do 2 things:

1) Give 10% of my saving to One North, the new church building project. When I obeyed, a couple of weeks later, He asked me to tithe another 40% more of my saving. I am a housewife not earning an income. But I obeyed. That was 2 years ago.

2) He asked me to go ahead to divorce my ex. At that time, I was still strongly in love with him even though all his unfaithfulness. I did and I am still happy in the Lord.

Yes, I am a 4 year old Christian from NCC. Does this satisfy you?

Shalom,
Stephanie

Stephanie said...

Many who don't know Lord Jesus, Abba Father, think that by going for Grace is a dangerous move.

But Grace is Jesus, Himself. Pastor Prince job is to unveil the beauty of Jesus from the new and old testament. Didn't you read in the bible this? John 5:46 'If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.'

When you learn more and more about Jesus and His Grace, Lord, the Holy Spirit come out to teach and guide on walking the path of the righteous.

How many using the 10 commandments get anyone to obey fully? Lord Jesus pushed it further, to love your enemy. You are not to covet even in thoughts.

Only when we surrender to Lord and let Him lead that His yoke is light. Following His command become easy. Glory Glory! Amen Amen!

Shalom!

luwin said...

@ Liu the man,

Very matured response. You certainly are growing in Christlikeness each day in NCC aren't you? Surely it must be a wholesome, nurturing and sanctifying community to be in. Your fruit of love and patience and meekness is incredibly evident in your speech. You bear such excellent testimony as one who carries the name of Christ; an inspiration to us all. (: (:

@ Stephanie,

Ok this has nothing to do with the prosperity Gospel. In fact, i'm very impressed with your generosity, i'm not even sure the homemakers in my church would be willing to give up that much.

Just one quick question though:
God told you to divorce your spouse? How exactly did He tell you do do it? From his Word, a dream, a voice, a friend's counsel, a pastor's advice.. etc? (no sarcasm or anything here yea, i just seriously am curious to find out.)

Cheers,
Luwin

Cheat Grace said...

Stephanie, you did the right thing. Jesus' words in Matt 19:9 reminds us that if a spouse persists in unfaithfulness, the innocent spouse can leave the adulterous spouse and even marry another. May God's sweet shalom guard your heart and comfort you

Joseph said...

RELIGION IS FULL OF PROHIBITIONS, WHICH NEVER COME FROM GOD. IT ONLY MAKES US DOUBT GOD'S LOVE.

The gospel is about good news. Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, not to make the poor poorer. It will definitely hinder our effort to witness telling the poor to give and sell all that they have. Would you do it yourself? I won’t.

Was thinking about riches of old testament’s saints when it occurs to me that if we have a new and better covenant, which means if in the old covenant they have health and prosperity then shouldn’t we expect more in the new and better covenant?

I was listening to the message preached by pastor Prince about the lost sheep, lost son and lost coin; pastor Prince emphasized that these stories were not about the lost but about the joy of the Finder. Why did the Father continuously kissing the filthy son? It has nothing to do with what the son deserves, but is all about the love in the Father’s heart.
GOD, THE FATHER ENJOYS LOVING AND BLESSING. GOD’S LOVE KEEPS SUPPLYING B’COS OF HIS JOY.

Stephanie said...

Hi Luwin,

You can read about the divorce from my blog. All started from what Lord revealed thru my sis what he is doing.

He did talk about his adventure. During the divorce.

Lord first disclosed on May 2009 about he wanted to divorce me. I cried for a week. Lord comforted me at the meantime. He was preparing me that time.

Lord told me through my sis in July 2009 and when I called him to get a lawyer, he immediately did it.

You can read the divorce on my 16/09/2009 posting.

My sis and I have been spending lots of time talking to Lord, so He come through us to talk to each other.

Haha, why I dare to tithe so much and in fact, blessing others till zero saving. But Lord always make me have enough to spend. Glory Glory.

I dare to tithe because I believe my 2 seeds will lead to a big tree blessing! I believe in what Lord promise us to test Him in Malachi 3:10 Praise the Lord!

Shalom!

Liu said...

汪 汪 汪 (bark bark bark)...

yawn.... zzzzz

sorry, can't help it. (see, I told you, I am not a noble man, can never be holier than thou).

Peace Peace,
William

dazza533 said...

Stanley, I'm wondering though what your thoughts are on what Philip Yancey says in his book "prayer". In which he says that not all prayers are answered even the valid ones. In doing so he cites the indian couple who escaped the 9/11 twin towers disaster and became Christians but what about some of the other 3,000 who prayed but were still killed by collapsing steel girders. Or the girl who was raped every night by her brother over ten years despite praying for deliverance. Or why only 4 soldiers were saved from a company of 300 when probably more than half were Christians. I know that the stock answer is, "I don't know about those people but as for me I'll believe in Mark 11:23". But we can't deny the fact. I mean even in the civil war in the US, there were men of faith on both sides who fervently prayed and believed God with all their heart. But of course one side had to lose. Yes, I want to believe what the bible says but I don't want to be blind to the fact that it ain't no set formula and sometimes prayers, even fervent, perfectly just ones, for whatever reason, don't get answered. How do we make sense of it? Or should we even try?

Stanley Wong said...

Hi dazza533,
There are some things which I think are beyond our limited understanding eg. How did God come about? How did He get His powers?

For me, since I choose to believe in Christ, then I choose to believe that the bible is 100% true, and therefore I choose to believe in Mark 11:23, despite the seemingly contradictory evidence which Philip Yancey cites.

Perhaps that is why we need faith, to believe in the absence of 100% proof.

luwin said...

Hey dazza533,

You posed a very good question which deserves a proper response. Your post reveals that you are truly interested and reflective about the things that God says in His Word.

There are many paradoxes (apparent contradictions) in our understanding of God. The problem of prayer is one of them, and it has a generated a wealth of Christian thought and writing.

Whilst it is true that some things are beyond our limited understanding, we can only honestly say that after we have tried our hardest to answer them. Instead of playing the "it's a mystery, so let's just accept it" card too early, an thinking Christian who desires to serve God with all his mind must be willing to think and think again about the hard problems presented in God's Word.

Otherwise anyone could start a religion and defend their fairytale doctrines by saying: "well, there are a lot of things beyond our understanding, so you just need faith." How are we supposed to respond to them if we simply play the same card as them? Also how to we respond to atheist when they ask for "an answer for the hope that we have?"

So even if we find at the end of the day that we cannot make perfect sense of some things, (e.g. the trinity, God's sovereignty and Man's free will, the 'hypostatic union' of Jesus) we must always try our best. Believing that because Christianity is reasonable and true, we can get very good answers if we think hard and honestly about it.
All the great church fathers and Christian thinkers have done precisely that.

As for your question on prayer, i'd like to say that most mainstream churches do not interpret Mark 11:23-24 as a blanket assurance of answered prayer. In fact it hasn't been the "stock answer" for most Christians for most of church history.

A verse has to be read and understood in its immediate (chapter and book) as well as its broader context (the entire bible).

The Bible, as a whole does not promise us that whatever we ask for will be granted. In the end, our prayers must be subordinate to his sovereign will. And when we pray, we pray for things we desire, but more importantly we pray to know His desire, and for our wills to be more and more aligned to His will. We don't merely ask for our circumstances to be changed, we ask that He changes us.

Sometimes our prayers aren't answered because we ask for the wrong things. We ask out of our wills instead of His.

And as we mature in the faith, we find that God isn't so much interested in our happiness than He is in our holiness. Yet when we were young Christians, most of the things we asked for were for things that'll make us happy. For course He wouldn't answer them.

A good parent won't give his kids jelly beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, no matter how much the kid pleaded and begged. And sometimes that's what happens between our heavenly father and us.

There's so much more to be said on this, and i encourage you to continue on your quest by praying and reading!

But i hope you realise now that it's not as clear-cut as simply invoking Mark 11:23-24 without consideration of the fuller revelation of God's Word to us, in Scripture and in our lives. (:

God bless,
Luwin

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Luwin,
dazza533 mentioned that Yancey said not all prayers are answered, even the VALID ones. I was hoping to learn from your proper response but am disappointed that you didn't answer it in your proper response.

In essence, your proper response was that some prayers are not answered because they are not aligned to God's will, in other words, the prayers are not VALID, which does not really answer dazza533's question.

luwin said...

Chill Stanley,

Address the question. What do you thing theological discussions are suppposed to be? A war to win or what? Cumon.

Let's hear something contributive instead of just nit-picking alright. Seriously, your blog forum will become a huge turn-off otherwise.

Neway, how you define VALID prayer is "prayer that is aligned to God's will and so God answers". Which is a good definition, But i'm not sure that's what Yancey meant by 'valid'. I could be wrong, but i'm not sure that's what Dazza meant either.

Do you mean that every unanswered prayer isn't valid? Because to me, to Yancey and others, prayers for the salvation of a loved one, the deliverance from repeated rape, the protection of a loved one from collapsing steel girders, etc, are very very valid prayers.

I certainly wouldn't say: "You shouldn't have wasted your time praying that your brother would stop raping you. that kind of prayer isn't valid."

So the question is, how come seemingly valid prayers sometimes aren't answered?

I said the question deserves a proper response. and that takes a lot of time and effort to uncover. Years of praying and thinking and reading. Surely you didn't hope to have it resolved in 5 paragraphs. haha. But i'm sorry if i gave that impression that i was going to deliver the answer. I merely wanted Dazza to know that she had to try to make sense of it, and offered her my two cents worth as food for thought.

Stanley Wong said...

Chill Luwin,
You said dazza533's question "deserves a proper response", and you responded ... sorry, it's my own mistake for expecting your response to be the "proper response" instead of "two cents worth as food for thought".

By the way, dazza533 asked me for my "thoughts are on what Philip Yancey says in his book "prayer"", and I did just that. Like you said, this is a question "that takes a lot of time and effort to uncover", so my proper response in short is "I don't know the answer."

Sunny li said...

Yes, good as it is said, Grace gives you the power to give and give and give more and more. It's not the paper or notes - it comes out of the heart. Just like Jesus said the poor widow gave so little but out of her heart (spirit) and the rich man gave so much but out of his excess worldly pocket. One gave out of what he has the other gave out of the spirit - telling us that money is paper only. It sure need our spirit. Just like love too. We call the spirit of love.

Any what there is only one gospel of Jesus Christ not "prosperity gospel" alone. Just the same the world emphasis on or focus is money without God. Prosperity in God is a great blessings.

Oliver Chew said...

About the prosperity gospel, how about the early disciples of Christ? They didn't live very prosperous lives. They probably did physically, with good health as there was little account of them falling sick other than Paul's thorn in the flesh. But materially, financially?

To make a long story short, they either ended up killed or exiled. The early Christians didn't have it better. With the examples of the early Christians, one can't fault Christians today for thinking there is room for suffering in following the Cross.

Of course, there must be a balance and accepting that God is in control whatever happens. But to proclaim that one can never suffer poverty because God only promises blessings is probably inaccurate, if we take the disciples' lives as an example. The interesting thing is people into the prosperity gospel never use the disciples as examples as they're pretty bad examples of prosperity to begin with. But they certainly had the inner peace that surpasses all understanding. That's probably true prosperity.