In many ways we are all fools. I think that might be the beginning of wisdom right there. Let me qualify that by saying what a fool is. Just because a person doesn’t know a given fact doesn’t make them a fool. That makes them ignorant. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant as long as that knowledge isn’t important for you to know and you don’t go about life pretending you aren’t ignorant. I am ignorant about many things. That is how I’ve learned so much useful and useless stuff. If I come across something I don’t know I ask questions about it. A fool won’t ask questions or even worse will try to appear an expert on the subject. Of course that isn’t what makes a person a fool that is what a fool does.
I think the simplest definition of what makes a person a fool is when people are too self-absorbed to care.
A fool usually thinks they are wise. A fool usually thinks everything is someone else’s fault. A fool knows a little and makes it spread a long ways.
I think you can see how we can all be foolish from time to time. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, then you are probably too self-absorbed to care. Anyone remember what that was a definition for?
Anyways, now that we have a working definition for a fool, let me jump right in and focus on one of the most foolish bits of theology that I’ve had to endure. The Prosperity Doctrine is one of my biggest pet peeves in Christianity. I have to be careful if I write or talk about this because I don’t want to hurt anyone and this is super sensitive.
There are a great many problems with the faith church but there are also good things. I think I need to be more open to living by faith, but this does not mean living in prosperity. Of course, the biggest problem I have with prosperity doctrine is that it makes it seem like we need more. Seriously, if you are in America you are on the top 10% of the world income. I am very poor by American standards but I am literally in the upper 10% of the world. Do I really need God to bless me with more? If He does what will I do with it? OK sure I might be super awesome and give 50% of my income if God blessed my with a 6 figure income. If I had that kind of money I could give 50% and still have more disposable income than I do right now. Of course, even giving 50% away would still leave me with unspeakably more money than most of the world. That is pretty sad when you think about it. Anyone see just how self-absorbed that is?
Of course, that isn’t really the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the dark side of the doctrine. Prosperity doctrine takes verses out of context to try and say that God blesses those with faith financially. There are different versions of this, but all of them use these verses to try and make some kind of formula that can be followed to get God to pour out money. Of course, we forget just how blessed we are and instead start focusing on getting more. These are the good points by the way. The dark side it the opposing view that must be true if the primary view is true. If God financially blesses the faithful, then those that are not financially blessed must not be faithful.
Don’t believe this is a prevalent view in Prosperity circles? Let me share a story about someone I went to school with. Andrew Hagee. This would be John Hagee’s nephew. The guy made sure everyone in the school knew who his uncle was, as if we cared. In one class we would go through a very short devotion on Proverbs at the beginning of each class. We were encouraged to read a chapter each day and the prof would usually pick a single verse to build the devo off from. One time he quoted a verse about a “sluggard.” There are plenty of those in Proverbs. The prof asked the class what a “sluggard” is. Haggee’s nephew said, “Anyone on welfare.” Of course this is just plain foolish. Sure some people on welfare are sluggards, but so are some rich people. Some people on welfare work plenty hard but are unable to find work or the work they can find doesn’t pay enough.
Of course, these are just people in America. I wonder just how many people in foreign countries are blessed enough by Prosperity standards? None of these points even begin to touch on the lack of context in verses. Yes God wants to bless us, but He wants to bless us for eternal things not perishable things. Sometimes He give financial blessing, but it rains on the just and the unjust alike.
The thing that makes it most clear that people who adhere to faith doctrine are dangerously close to being fools is the fact that they will not hear wisdom on things such as this. Try talking to them about how blessed they are in their poverty and you will be greeted with hostility. Quote the rest of a passage like Mark 10:29 & 30. So many Prosperity teachers can readily quote most of that passage. Anyone that gives up … to follow me will receive 100 times in this very life … Funny how they stop halfway through verse 30. The completely ignore “and with it great persecution.” Next time someone throws that verse in your face go ahead and finish the quote. Every time I do they completely shut down or explode. It is never well received.
Of course, that goes with last week’s post. You can answer them and get into a debate that only makes you look foolish, or you can let them run off in their own arrogant ignorance and let them think themselves wise. Either way, good luck.
Anyone think I’m wrong about Prosperity doctrine? Got anything else to add? Think I was too mean? Think I threw John Hagee under the bus unfairly?