Last month, I took a 21-day reprieve from my personal Facebook page. I have to admit that I did get on Facebook but only to post my morning Bible Scripture and I quickly got off. I was listening to Pastor George Pearsons and tells of a story that televangelist Rick Renner once said that God told him, “No word, no breakfast.” What he meant was that read God’s Word first then have breakfast, I have adopted it, so I place Scripture first before I have breakfast with my wife.
Again, as I scan through Facebook to see what my friends are posting, I come across another person that just has to bash a pastor/preacher for what they are preaching as it moves towards the Prosperity Gospel. The meaning of the Prosperity Gospel is a modern version or, according to some, perversion of the gospel according to which the full blessings of God available to those who approach Him in faith and obedience include wealth, health, and power. Unfortunately, most of the bashing comes from religious groups and their doctrine with man-made rules.
Mind you, I always investigate first, like a good Berean (Acts 17:11) to see what they are preaching lines up with God’s Word. Bereans were people that were open-minded and always were seeking the truth in Scripture. Jesus warned us about the future and it will come with false preachers/teachers of the Bible (Matthew 24:3-13). Being a preacher of God’s Word is not easy by no stretch of the imagination. Friends on my personal Facebook page that are ministers/pastors/preachers know exactly what I am talking about. We all have a different calling, especially in pastoral ministry.
There are many denominations, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, to name a few. None have the same doctrine or beliefs, no matter what you have been told or heard. Some are similar, but never the same or identical. Some preachers have been called to preach a certain doctrine such as faith, healing, prosperity, and they do evangelize along with it. I was once told that miracles died with the apostles, but I do not believe it because the greatest miracle is being born-again. I believe in healing when it comes down to the body. I am living proof of that and have the MRI to prove it. I also believe in the healing of the mind, relationships, finances, and I could go on and on.
Here is an example. When thinking about prosperity, the first thing that comes to mind is wealth. There is more to prosperity than wealth. I love to prosper in my health, don’t you? I have gone through the Bible over and over again, others have joined me, but we cannot find anywhere in the Bible that God wants us to be poor and sick. On the contrary, when then the Bible talks about prospering, it always states that God desires to bless us abundantly.
Kenneth Copeland wrote a book some time ago called The Laws of Prosperity. In his book, he mentions health and wealth, but the other five caught my eye.
- Spiritual Prosperity: We must be born-again and when we are, our Spirit is reborn and in fellowship with God
- Emotional Prosperity: True peace and joy can only be found through Christ Jesus!
- Mental Prosperity: Revelation knowledge, mental abilities beyond our own, and a sharp mind like Moses had even at 120 years old
- Relational Prosperity: Only God can truly prosper you in the area of relationships
- Accomplishment (favor) Prosperity: It opens doors and causes things to go your way, even when, in the natural, it may not seem possible
The apostle John wrote, “I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). God wants to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ever ask for or think (Ephesians 3:20) and His plans for us are for success (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, what’s the problem? The problem is that all it takes is one word either explained incorrectly, interpreted wrong, or taken out of context and it starts a media and religious frenzy, or a bashing. Don’t bash the preacher! If he or she says anything that does not line up biblically, use your church’s chain of command. If that does not work, move to another church that lines up with what God’s Word says to you. I have always said to others to move on when you are not getting fed properly. If this preacher is on radio, television, podcast, or whatever media you listen to, don’t listen to it and shut it off.
A distinguished professor that I had the honor and privilege to set in a few classes as an undergrad, gave some sound advice one evening. He told us that he will be held accountable for every student that comes through the door of this college, every student he teaches, in addition to every person that came to the churches he was pastoring at. Think about that for a minute. We will also be held accountable on the day of judgment for the people that we preach and teach the infallible Word of God. What I got out of his statement was to hold yourself accountable for what you are preaching and don’t worry about others who are preaching a message that you do not agree with.
No one likes to be bashed for their beliefs, the job or tasks they perform, raising children, again I could go on and on. Bashing causes anger and strife and Jesus called us to peace (John 14:27). Instead of bashing, pray. Also, we will be held accountable for what we say. Jesus warned us that it is not what comes into our mouths, but what comes out (Matthew 15:18; Mark 7:15). Jesus told us before taking the speck out of other’s eye, take the plank out of yours (Matthew 7:3-5). Basically, do not criticize others because you are guilty of the same (Matthew 7:4).
We all have different beliefs and the arguments will continue that their beliefs are right and the others are wrong, but one thing that is true, there is only one way to heaven and that is through our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6), Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I approve of this message!
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