02 January 2008

Prosperity "gospel" under scrutiny

Another article on the hope-it-happens-'cause-it-couldn't-come-soon-enough demise of the prosperity "gospel" (Via Associated Press. The comments [in blue within the brackets] are my $.02):

The teachings took on various names — "Name It and Claim It," "Word of Faith," the prosperity gospel [Also: Blab-it-and-Grab-it Nonsense, Heresy, Blasphemy...]

Prosperity preachers say that it isn't all about money — that God's blessings extend to health [Aren't Ken Hagin and Oral Roberts dead? Does that mean they didn't have enough faith?], relationships [I guess that's why two of the biggest-name couple are divorcing. Hmmm?] and being well-off enough to help others. [Just so long as you help yourself first]

They have Bible verses at the ready to make their case. One oft-cited verse, in Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians, reads: "Yet for your sakes he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich."
[They also never mention that the apostle Paul--one of the most faithful (if not THE MOST faithful man of God who has ever lived) was beaten, stoned, jailed...oh yeah--he lost all his money, too. But, let's not tell anybody that, M'K?]

Critics acknowledge the idea that God wants to bless his followers has a Biblical basis, but say prosperity preachers take verses out of context [Yuh think?]. The prosperity crowd also fails to acknowledge Biblical accounts that show God doesn't always reward faithful believers, Palmer said. [Isaiah--sawn in two. Paul--beheaded. Peter--crucified upside down. Jeremiah--thrown into a well. James--behaded. If only they had that ah-NOIN-t'n'!...]

The Book of Job is a case study in piety unrewarded, and a chapter in the Book of Hebrews includes a litany of believers who were tortured and martyred, Palmer said. [I guess their torture was that they could only afford a three-horse chariot, instead of the four-horse model.]

Yet the prosperity gospel continues to draw crowds, particularly lower- and middle-income people who, critics say, have the greatest motivation and the most to lose.
[Yuh think?] The prosperity message is spreading to black churches, attracting elderly people with disposable incomes, and reaching huge churches in Africa and other developing parts of the world. [Leading many of these people to destruction. But I digress.]

One of the teaching's attractions is that it doesn't dwell on traditional Christian themes of heaven and hell [Or that old, worn-out, useless old Bible thingy. We's gots to have some new revelations!!] but on answering pressing concerns of the here and now, said Brian McLaren, a liberal evangelical author and pastor.

But the prosperity gospel, McLaren said, not only preys on the hope of the vulnerable,
[Again: Yuh think? I stand amazed. Brian McLaren actually said something that makes sense!] it puts too much emphasis on individual success and happiness [And not enough emphasis on things like, oh, I don't know. Sin. Repentance. The Cross.]

"We've pretty much ignored what the Bible says about systemic injustice," he said.

The checks and balances central to Christian denominations are largely lacking in prosperity churches. [No kiddin'!!] One of the pastors in the Grassley probe, Bishop [Fast] Eddie Long of suburban Atlanta, has written that God told him to get rid of the "ungodly governmental structure" of a deacon board. [That's right. Can't have nobody stickin' they nose into how da good passuh got hisself that stretch Bentley now! Gots to make 'em think it's from Da Lawd!!]

Some ministers hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works. [Yeah, it works for the Passuhs. For the people they fleece? Eh, not so much.] Atlanta-area pastor Creflo [Worshippin' the Almighty Dollar], who is fighting Grassley's inquiry, owns a Rolls Royce and multimillion-dollar homes and travels in a church-owned Learjet. [While the people he fleeces watch one check after another go boingy, boingy, boingy.]

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