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Go into all the world and prosper?

Posted by truthtalklive on November 5, 2007

Has political correctness and the prosperity gospel taken over our approach to mission trips? Related article: “Missions Isn’t Safe” www.christiantytoday.com . The John Piper on the prosperity gospel is available HERE.

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12 Responses to “Go into all the world and prosper?”

  1. ADB said

    Great topic. The whole “health and wealth gospel for the healthy and wealthy” is one of my biggest concerns. O’Steen and his message bear faint resemblance to the gospel I know and love. Jesus said that God sends the rain on the just and the unjust alike. His message simply amounts to self help and God wants you to be rich, with a couple of verses tossed in to sound good. Some good Christians lose their jobs, have car accidents, and get cancer, just like some non-believers do. Regarding missions, we do need to be careful. If God is calling a person to a mission field he/she should go, but not everyone is called into an overseas mission field. For sure we don’t need to send a junior high youth group to Afghanistan for a week. Those who would do overseas missions really should honor God by diligently preparing for it which can take months or even years. In fact a documentary I saw about Jim Elliot was critical of him for, in his passion, attempting to go in too soon, without enough prep work. The result was his death and possibly delaying greatly the evangelization of that very hostile tribe. The springbreak mission trips really don’t do much long term good except to make those who go aware of how fortunate we are in the U.S. That in itself is worthwhile, but pales in comparison to those who spend many years in a foreign land really learning the people. It takes a pastor in a new church a few years to really get to know his flock so that they really trust and respect him. The same is true with missions, learn the language, learn the culture, take time, build relationships and eventually convert entire villages to the Lord.

    A curmudgeonly pastor 🙂

  2. grover said

    I did not get the opportunity to call in while you were discussing this subject. First i want to thank you for talking on this subject today. I believe Christ gave the Church a very strong warning in Revelation on this subject. In Revelation 3:14-22 the letter to the Church at Laodicea, most people stop at the 16th verse when HE is talking about spewing them out of HIS mouth, but if you read on HE says in 17 because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I believe HE atught us very plainly to lay our treasures up in Heaven not here on Earth, because what reward we receive here in this life is all we receive for what ever reason we received it, but we should desire rewards in Heaven where rust, and moths and the thief can not destroy.

  3. kandace said

    Define your terms: 1)Missions, 2)Mission trip.

    I say this because far too often we North Americans go to another location claiming to go to win people to Christ, when,in reality, we
    try to impose a North American culture upon them.

    At last, the Southern Baptist Convention is seeing the light by changing terms – from “Foreign Mission Board” to “International Mission Board (IMB)” and “Home Mission Board” to North American Mission Board (NAMB)”. The workers do not go with their own agenda: Church Planting, etc. Instead, they bring their “secular” skills: i.e. businessman, teacher, teacher, plumbing, electrician, etc. They do not go to a “country” but to a specific”People Group” i.e. Berber, Kurds, etc.

    In other words, there is an effort to find out how we Americans can SERVE them to assist them toward providing them with the basics of life: i.e. potable drinking water, sanitary living conditions, etc. Consequently, we earn the right to bring in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Our church, First Baptist Church of Jacksoville, Florida recently hosted a NORTH AFRICAN/MIDDLE EAST conference in which 70 IMB missionaries came to the States in order to discuss ideas, gain refreshment, etc. in a secure environment for a few days then return to their places on the field. Some of the locations are quite dangerous, but these people have been gaining the favor of the national population and have been leading Islamic people to faith in Christ.

    As we go and SERVE others, we earn a platform to share our faith with others. Let’s partner together and let our light shine so that we can earn the right to share Christ, rather than be considered the UGLY AMERICAN.

  4. Dan said

    Preaching a message that God blesses people with money implies that poor people are not favored by God.

    The Bible record includes cases where God blessed faithful servants with riches. Jacob left his home with just his staff but returned 20 years later with enough sheep, cattle, and asses to form two camps. According to the Bible, Jacob’s prosperity was a gift from God. (Genesis 32:10) Another example: Job lost all his possessions, yet God later blessed him with “fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand spans of cattle and a thousand she-asses.” (Job 42:12) God gave King Solomon wealth so great that its fame endures to modern times.

    On the other hand, the Bible contains NUMEROUS accounts of faithful, obedient worshipers of God who were poor.

    Jacob’s material blessings formed a foundation for building a nation, in preparation for the coming of the promised Seed. (Genesis 22:17, 18) Job’s prosperity dispelled any doubt about who had brought calamity on Job, thus sanctifying God’s name. (James 5:11) And Solomon used much of his divinely provided wealth to build a magnificent temple. (1 Kings 7:47-51) Interestingly, God also used Solomon to write from personal experience about the limited value of riches.—Ecclesiastes 2:3-11; 5:10; 7:12.

    God blesses the efforts of those who strive to do his will. (Psalm 1:2, 3) He provides them with the strength and the resources to cope with trials, to provide for their families, and to seek first his Kingdom.

    (Matthew 6:31-33) . . .So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

  5. ADB said

    Dan,
    You made an excellent point. The O.T. and N.T. both clearly show that God has special regard for the poor, because they don’t have much in this life. God’s blessings do not necessarily equal material wealth. Wealth can a curse- just ask the lottery winners who a few years later have no family, no friends, and little of the money left- just as well as a blessing.

  6. Mike Sears said

    How do these scriptural commands/claims fit into a “prosperity gospel”.

    Rejoice in sufferings, share in the suffering of Christ, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who suffer, Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ, learn to be content, whether fed or hungry., have patience in the face of suffering,and many more.

    I guess Kenneth Copeland would rebuke Job for not having enough faith?

  7. Rod (Bro Bear) said

    Great topic, and the responses are thoughtful as well; here is mine. The prosperity “gospel” is a lie. Simple as that. Woe betide ye who alter the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Truth and the truth bears no alterations. Pray for and minister the truth in love to those who are misled by this falseness of Satan and the anti-Christs who promote it. Regarding our willingness to do so, ponder this:

    “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame (1 Cor. 15:34).”

    In other words, we gotta get off our too often sorry, self-satisfied, complacent butts and really witness to the truth of Jesus Christ, both to those who haven’t heard as well as to those who won’t because time is gettin’ short, and if we ain’t living to share and to glorify God, we are for all intents, in rebellion and sin.

    Shatter the darkness!

    Bro Bear

  8. kandace said

    Dan,
    My comments are not meant to convey a prosperity gospel. Working to improve the living conditions of other nations does not mean that one who is poor in this world’s resources is not blessed of God. If one is supposed to remain in whatever state he finds himself, there is no basis for education or anything else. Scripture no where says that a person is not to try to improve his life.

    What I am saying is that building relationships is a valuable way to spread the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t just proclaim the Gospel in a verbal manner. Demonstrate by lifestyle why the Gospel matters. Islamic people want to know that we care about them as people. Active demonstration of agape Christian love is more powerful than a verbal recitation of the claims of Christ without any demonstration of why people need Him.

    If we who claim to be Christians lived an authentic Christian life, Mohammed might not have rejected Christianity. Mohammed acknowledged that Christians were followers of The Way.

  9. ADB said

    Kandace,
    I think you have hit on one of the unfortunate divides in the contemporary church. Too often today, people look at missions as being entirely evangelism or entirely justice/social needs. Truly it should not be either/or but both. We must spread the good news, but at the same time help people meet basic human needs.

  10. kandace said

    ADB
    I hope you didn’t get the impresseion that we do not share Jesus Christ on the mission field.
    These people are actively involved in locations that are dangerous: i.e. Middle East,
    Central Asia, etc. where Americans have been told by the US State Department not to enter.

    The Gospel goes out under the leadership of the National citizens: i.e. Berbers, Kurds, etc. However, it is shared in the context of the relevant culture so that they can apply the teachings to Jesus Christ to their own lives. Some of these places lack written translations of God’s Word.

    These people have a strong oral tradition, so they hear the Christian stories in a manner in which it touches their culture so that they can receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  11. ADB said

    I was agreeing with your point, actually. The model you describe sounds really good to me. Best Wishes.

  12. kandace said

    ADB,
    We just stumbled upon one of the weaknesses of communication via Internet. I was unable to discern whether or not we were in agreement merely by the words written. It is the voice inflection behind the written words that would have given me the clue. Let’s just keep on living for Jesus and be patient with me as I am learning how to communicate via the Internet.

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