Tuesday is for Preaching
The prosperity gospel is a false gospel and an embarrassment to the people of God. Unfortunately, too many genuine believers have been sucked into its abysmal theology and the result is that their lives are plummeting toward idolatry. What is perhaps more alarming is that pastors who should know better and who despise the theology of the “prosperity gospel” of men like Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, TBN, Jimmy Swaggert and their ilk, fall prey to the subtle appeal of “success” defined by bigger budgets and salaries for pastors.
Pastor, you weren’t called to your post to be rewarded now. You were called to your post to preach the word of God to the people of God so that the people of God, the bride of Christ, would be ready for her wedding day when Christ returns in glory. Preach the word. Preach the Gospel. Pray for your people and equip them to preach and live out the word in their lives. That’s your job. [For the uninformed, Here is a great link to InternetMonk.com defining what the prosperity gospel is and isn’t.]
The source for the following is Kairos Journal.
Jonathan Lamb serves as one of the directors of Langham Partnership International, an organization committed to encouraging expository biblical preaching. His book Integrity: Leading with God Watching (2006) is a challenge to pastors. He wrote of a conversation with Christian leaders who wanted to argue that their credibility depended upon visible success. These leaders despised the prosperity gospel but nonetheless argued “that dressing well and having a reasonable car and an appropriate title were all necessary elements of a leadership style which won an audience.” Lamb’s response, based upon 2 Corinthians 6:8-10, offers a perspective sadly missing in the Church today.
It is very easy for our circumstances or for the expectations of others around us to control our lives. If we are honest, we will admit that our self-esteem is often bound up with our popular ratings, or our status, or our income. However self-assured we might be, when some of these things are stripped away from our lives we can see how much of our identity as individuals is bound up with them…
In a world which thinks very differently, we can easily be tempted to compromise our faith or dilute our Christian witness. Christian leaders can easily succumb to the world’s pressures. We need to hold the things of this world lightly, for if we are concerned with our own reputation or honour, with material comfort and security, then it is unlikely that we will live a life worthy of the gospel. Our ministry will be ‘discredited’ and, instead of encouraging others forward, we will be placing a road block across their path. But true servants of God, filled with his Spirit, will seek to live lives which are consistent with the gospel they proclaim. It was a radical statement in the Greek world of Paul’s day, and it will be just as radical today.
If we judge Christians by the superficial criteria of the world—titles, clothes, bank balance—we have missed what really matters. Our calling to serve Christ is likely to be very different. It might cost us our comfort, our security, or our health, and maybe even our family or life itself. We do not measure the effectiveness of leaders by the indices of worldly success, but by their conformity to the way of the cross…
Integrity as a way of life means living contentedly whatever our circumstances. It means that we rely on God’s resources, live under his watchful eye and enjoy his fatherly care.1
|1||Jonathan Lamb, Integrity: Leading with God Watching (Nottingham, England: InterVarsity, 2006), 147-149.|