As I’ve previously ministered in other parts of the world, I’ve been alarmed at the growing influence of the so-called “prosperity gospel”.
The prosperity message is simply the latest incarnation of the historically persistent “gospel of self” that’s been a blight on the Church since the beginning. Going back to Simon the Samaritan in Acts 8, there’s always been those among us – with gifted personalities and beguiling, mesmerizing spirits of seeming sincerity – who pimp the gospel for personal gain.
Such God pimps – including John Hagee, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and their minions – are all over the airways peddling their seductive gospel of “self”.
For them, God’s highest purpose is to bless me by satisfying my carnal desires for wealth, health and power – but only if I bless Johnny, Kenny or Benny first. After all, they need to feed and maintain their own kingdoms of self – with their huge multimillion dollar estates, untold but vast personal wealth, growing family dynasties with wives and children moved into successor positions, and fleets of expensive cars and personal luxury jets.
These men are fakes. They aggressively promote themselves and deceive while deflecting attention from how they really live and act. Lately, I’ve been seeing how they entice local pastors who are desperate to feed their own growing kingdoms: just help promote me and my gospel of self and I’ll promote you in return.
After all, how better to build a Kingdom of Self – whether internationally or locally – except with a Gospel of Self?
While ministering at leadership conferences and the like, I’ve countered this gospel of self when possible and appropriate. It is a curse and a blight upon the Church and God’s people because it denies the power of the cross and tries to make God subservient to my will.
- The authentic gospel, instead, calls me to take up my cross with Jesus and to die — sometimes literally, if needed — to my own selfish desires and will.
- It calls me to the Kingdom of God, rather than the Kingdom of Self, by honoring the Father above my own interests and desires as I do his will – rather than my own – on earth as it is in heaven.
- It promises that as I do the Father’s will rather than my own will, He will supply my daily bread as He deems appropriate – rather than satisfy my own carnality or perceived needs and desires.
- It affirms that God is sovereign, and I’m not, and my life is not my own.
As a positive testimony, I tried as best I could in Sufficient Grace to convey something my own journey as I found the will of the Father and abiding faith even in adversity. On the flip side, I publicly confronted in Beware! a local church were the leadership is pimping God and exhibiting a warped attitude of entitlement (while, perhaps not surprisingly, embracing international deceivers like Hinn, Copeland and Hagee).
I was encouraged, therefore, with this video clip. In it, John Piper hits the nail on the head as he expresses his justified hate for the false, self-centered and self-serving gospel of self. I first saw it when a friend posted it on Facebook, and I highly recommend it . . .
I thank God for men who care enough to speak clearly and plainly and call us to the cross. May God bless John Piper for expressing the heart of God on this vital issue.
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