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Short Take: How does the prosperity gospel distort the Beatitudes?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
July 12, 2020 8:00 pm

Short Take: How does the prosperity gospel distort the Beatitudes?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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July 12, 2020 8:00 pm

Short Take from The Christian Worldview program on Is the Blessed Life of the Beatitudes What You Really Want? Part 1 of 2

Listen to the entire program here: https://www.thechristianworldview.org/topic-is-the-blessed-life-of-the-beatitudes-what-you-really-want-part-1-of-2/

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Now on page 10 of your book, Troy, you talk about this, the blessed life, in contrast to what has become a very popular movement today, the prosperity gospel movement. And you say the worst of the teaching of the prosperity gospel is that it reduces the Christian experience to simply getting something from God, as I think you just mentioned in your last answer. You go on to say on the same page, the concept of blessing in religious America has been notoriously equated with the American dream instead of the gospel of Christ.

Today blessing seems to mean something altogether different. Promotion, not persecution. Success, not suffering.

Getting invited, not getting insulted. Bigger, not smaller. Health, not pain. More, not less.

Now, not later. This book is not a polemic against the prosperity gospel, but you do use that contrast. Just talk briefly about how that popular movement today would get these beatitudes all wrong. Yeah, I think there's such a truncated understanding of what blessing is, especially in America today. And I think we assume that rich in cash, those who party all the time, those who are strong, those who are full and in need of nothing, rather than poor in spirit, mourning, being meek. I think that we just have to broaden our understanding of this concept and idea of blessing to include both. So I don't try to say that God doesn't bless people materially, because I think he does. I don't think that he blesses us materially all the time. And then I also don't want people to think that the only way that God does this is that he runs it through the grid of the American dream. So when you're blessed, you get a nicer car.

You get a brand new pair of shoes, a bigger house. And so literally, I'm just trying to kind of broaden our understanding of the word blessing to actually include these categories that Jesus introduces to us and the beatitudes, where he says that blessing can be accompanied by persecution and suffering and insult and smaller and pain and less, that those are actually part of the biblical equation of blessing too. And so I think a lot of people then, because they don't understand that, they assume that God's against them or forgotten them, when in reality, he's actually giving them an insight into the Christian life, and he's actually setting us up to be blessed in a way that the American dream can't bless us.

So that was kind of the heart in pointing out the distinctions between the two. And so I think too, kind of the danger for me with the prosperity gospel is I think it just distorts the character and nature of God. I think it distorts how God actually works. I think it treats God as a kind of like a code to crack. And if we just crack the God code, then God has to bless us. And then I think it sets people up for all kinds of frustration and misguided striving. And so if you aren't getting blessed according to the American dream idea of blessing, then it is a, hey, you didn't have enough faith, or it was a lack of leanness maybe in the sowing and reaping department on your end. And so what it does then is it creates this driving, this I'm using God to get something for myself rather than finding rest in God and seeing that God is blessing me in ways I don't even know or realize. And he's going to bless me in a way that's actually way more satisfying than something that's bigger, better, faster, or more horsepower.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-23 08:02:32 / 2024-03-23 08:04:24 / 2

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