137 Responses to John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

  1. Lucas Knisely March 6, 2008 at 8:37 am #

    *breaks vow of silence*

    That is a much better version of the video that I saw. Piper is one of the most effective speakers I have ever heard. I pray this message about the prosperity gospel will spread far and wide in this country, as well as others.

    Awesome find, Denny.

  2. Denny Burk March 6, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    Woohoo! Lucas is back!

  3. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    Wait for it….wait for it…

  4. Joshua March 6, 2008 at 9:58 am #

    While I am in agreeance with Mr. Piper, I find his illustration a little harsh. I can see why people in Africa and Asia are so attracted to the prosperity gospel, but what happens when those evangelists leave that country, is the faith they ignited all the people have left? I am curious about this.

    Now, I’m not saying that the prosperity gospel should be used as “bait” to attract people to Christ…but I must ask the question, while I, who do not sit on a pot of gold, why do people who adhere to the prosperity gospel, do? In America I mean. And I’m not referring to those Pastors, I’m referring to the people.

    Do the people (not talking about pastors) think about the gifts, or giving? Just some thoughts.

  5. jerem z March 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    This is a bunch of crap!

    Piper is not a effective speaker. Effective speakers do not communicate in hostility and out of reaction.

  6. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    …and there we go.

    I guess Jeremy beat Brett to the punch today.

    “I’ve always believed that it’s important to show a new look periodically. Predictability can lead to failure.”
    T. Boone Pickens

  7. Paul March 6, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    I share Piper’s concerns. I went to a church that “discovered” the prosperity gospel during my time there, and it disgusts me. He’s right, that the whole idea of God being a giver of things has little to do with the gospel, and focuses mainly on two or three verses.

    What’s more disturbing is how many people buy into it.

    There are few things that trouble me more.

    Thanks for this Denny.

  8. Brett March 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    Tristan,

    You have absolutely no idea who I am or what I think. The prosperity gospel is one of the most damaging realities to Christianity in the modern era. I wholeheartedly share Piper’s as well as the concerns of most of the people on here about it (Jeremy excluded). I am much more anti-prosperity gospel than anything Denny or any other person on here believes. Just because I disagree with many on here about certain aspects of their theology or politics doesn’t mean I disagree on everything. I proudly stand side by side with my conservative reformed brothers and sisters on this issue. Try to have knowledge of something before you say something about it.

    Thank you Denny for sharing this video with us.

  9. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    I apologize Brett. You’re right, that wasn’t fair.

  10. Brett March 6, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    No worries Tristan. I probably deserved it anyways.

  11. Ken March 6, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Since I have a slow dial-up and can’t watch videos online, would someone kindly elaborate for me on Dr. Piper’s approach here?

    Is it full of references to whitewashed tombs and broods of vipers? Otherwise, I think his rhetoric might be a little on the mild side.

  12. ,ole March 6, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    Brett,
    You did 🙂

    Hey Jeremy,
    I think Jesus was a little perturbed at the wrong doing that was going on inside the temple. He clearly communicated His point that sinfulness and illgotten gain were not acceptable by driving them out.

  13. Paul March 6, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    No whitewashed tombs or dens of vipers, but he comes right out and says that he hates the prosperity gospel, so he ain’t exactly pulling any punches here.

  14. Todd Pruitt March 6, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Jeremy,

    So, let me get this straight…

    Someone calling the prosperity “gospel” what it is in language that is not as strong as some of the language of the New Testament is “a bunch of crap.”

    However is it entirely appropriate to dismiss Piper’s words by calling them “a bunch of crap.”

    Effective writers do not write in hostility and out of reaction.

  15. Matt Svoboda March 6, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    Jeremy z,

    You are right. He is not an effective speaker. Because effective speakers don’t communicate with hostility and pure reaction.

    But, John Piper is one of the most effective preachers I have ever heard. Preachers of the Word of God do communicate out of hostility . Hostility to sin, false gospels, and everything else preachers ought to be hostile about. Piper is not a speaker. He is a teacher and preacher of the Word of God and many times God shows some hostility towards certain things and I believe that a false gospel is one of those. Read Galatians. Paul is quite hostile.

  16. jerem z March 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm #

    //Todd great point, however I never claimed to be a great and effective writer. Actually I am a really bad writer. And you are right; I did react. I am frustrated because I can probably predict what Denny’s topical post are going to entail for the rest of the year.
    Here you ready? More piper you tube videos, something dealing with Obama, something about the SBC, something about the emerging church, something about the complementarian perspective, and maybe something about LSU football. I would just like Denny to stretch out of his comfort zone and grapple with other perspectives other than his own. I would like to see a Christian perspective that is not affiliated with a white man who is Southern Baptist who lives this psuedo perfect calvinstic life. That is not Christian spirituality. I will not and cannot pretend anymore. Life is not as black and white and Denny’s rhetoric reflects.

    //Brett I appreciate your voice on this thread. I completely agree with you.

    //ole I never argued that Jesus did not get mad. Jesus got mad a lot. Plus Jesus is God. Piper is not. Piper is a bit prideful in his interpretation of other Christian movements. Jesus only condemns the judgmental religious people who look for sin in the lives of others without dealing with the sin in their own lives (Matthew 23).
    Lets be honest, Piper is basically yelling about “HOW THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL!” Well whatever Gospel Piper is preaching, I do not want anything to do with it. If it cause someone to get mad and angry and yell, I do not want anything to do with it.

    Cheers!
    Keep fighting for the Kingdom.

  17. Paul March 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Jeremy,

    It’s HIS BLOG. He’s a white Christian male who thinks in orthodox terms and loves him some John Calvin, some LSU football and some Piper. He paid for his domain name, so let him use it as he so chooses.

    You can’t ask someone to be something that they’re not. You CAN however, be a voice of opposition and/or reason when it’s warranted (and I’m sure Denny thinks it’s warranted a lot less often than I do). If you want a different perspective, you’ll need to go to a different blog. I do every day. You might be a little less frustrated if you did the same.

  18. Paul March 6, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    and, Jeremy, re: Piper…

    even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Not saying that Piper is a stopped clock, but he’s definitely on point here. And he has a right to scream on this issue. That we all don’t scream about the prosperity gospel is proof of how much the church has slipped in the past century.

  19. Denny Burk March 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Amen to Paul in #18!

  20. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Jeremy,
    “More piper you tube videos, something dealing with Obama, something about the SBC, something about the emerging church, something about the complementarian perspective, and maybe something about LSU football. I would just like Denny to stretch out of his comfort zone and grapple with other perspectives other than his own.”

    This is what you are saying. “I want Denny to be more like me. I don’t want him to use his own personal blog to represent his own theology and personal likes and dislikes, instead I want him to post more stuff that appeals to MY own personal theology and likes and dislikes.” This is Denny’s blog and you want him to write more stuff for you? This doesn’t strike you as a little odd? Would you like him to start posting apologetic pieces for the Muslim faith? Start writing pieces on how he loves Auburn football? There’s a reason it says DENNY BURK in big letters on the front page.

    “Brett I appreciate your voice on this thread. I completely agree with you.”

    Did you read what Brett wrote? He said that he “wholeheartedly” shares Piper’s concerns in the video and is possibly more concerned about it than Denny is. So, you disagree with Piper, but agree with Brett who agrees with Piper? Huh?

    “Jesus got mad a lot.”

    Yes He did, but later you say you don’t want anything to do with a Gospel that causes someone to get mad. So do you want anything to do with Jesus?

    “Jesus is God. Piper is not. ”

    Your point being? Are you suggesting that God can do things that are wrong, but Piper can’t? Is it somehow right for God to get mad but wrong for man? Aren’t we as Christians supposed to display (as best we can) the attributes of God? God is holy, we are not. This in no way means that we shouldn’t seek to be holy. If God gets mad, then we should get mad at the same things.

    “Jesus only condemns the judgmental religious people who look for sin in the lives of others without dealing with the sin in their own lives (Matthew 23).”

    Wrong. Jesus also gets pretty worked up about people who had brought money into the temple area. People who were trying to get rich by using the religious system established by God. Sounds like the prosperity Gospel to me.

    “Well whatever Gospel Piper is preaching, I do not want anything to do with it. If it cause someone to get mad and angry and yell, I do not want anything to do with it.”

    You haven’t even addressed what Piper is getting mad at. I’m not even sure if, in your red hot hatred for all-things-Piper, you listened to what he was talking about. He is angry about people perverting the Gospel. In Galatians Paul says he wishes people who pervert the Gospel would be damned to hell. You don’t get more worked up than that. Do you honestly believe that it is against the Spirit of God to hate sin, to get mad at sin, to get angry about sin, and to yell about sin. Jesus Christ did not even live up to the passivity toward sin you suggest.

    Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry and do not sin.” You want nothing to do with a gospel that causes someone to be mad and angry and yet you serve a Savior who got mad at sin (got out a whip and overturned tables mad) and read a Bible that says be angry?

  21. Lucas Knisely March 6, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    Well said, Tristan.

  22. Bryan L March 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm #

    One of the things I find interesting about this video/message from Piper is that it ignores a whole swath of evidence from the Bible where God is glorified in his people being blessed instead of their suffering (while remaining loyal). For someone who takes so much of his theology from the OT it seems odd that he would ignore this stuff (I’m sure he has particular hermeneutical reasons based on his theology but it make it a good example of some of the hermeneutical strategies employed by conservative Christians concerning the OT).

    I mean it can be seen in the Exodus (and even earlier with Abraham) where God delivers his people and even makes them extremely blessed in the process by plundering the Egyptians because it will (in addition to his love and commitment to his people) bring him glory and the nations will glorify him based on what they see.

    Even from a book like Job which Piper draws much of his theology from, Job is seen as blessed by God in the first place and after all his trials God renews everything he has and blesses him even more. It would not be very glorifying in the book of Job for God to just leave Job in his suffering and misery even while he remains loyal to God. In the book of Job, it’s Job’s blessedness that causes God to be glorified among people.

    I mean you can look all throughout the OT and see this with people like David and Solomon. For God’s people to suffer and be left to their suffering does not bring God glory among the nations.

    I mean is suffering and just accepting suffering really that glorifying to God? I mean stoics are pretty good at it and Buddhist monks are too and so are ascetics, more so than we are.

    As someone pointed out to me recently, Piper in his lifestyle is probably closer to the prosperity preachers in terms of comfort and belongings than he is to the poorest of the poor in Africa and Asia that he mentions. No he’s not the same as the prosperity preachers are but he’s rich and he lives in comfort and I’m sure he sees it as a blessing from God, which interestingly enough implies that God wants to bless John Piper but he doesn’t want to bless the poorest of the poor in other countries or for them to rise above their poverty.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

    BTW there was an interesting article a while back on Michael Kruses blog concerning this topic. Here’s the link (I had to split it):
    http://krusekronicle.typepad.com
    /kruse_kronicle/2007/12/wealth-gospel-p.html

  23. Lucas Knisely March 6, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    Bryan,

    Piper isn’t saying we can’t have comfort or nice things. He is saying that the Gospel is not a message of health and wealth. Promising people health and wealth is not a Biblical message, even in light of the passages you pointed out. Added to the fact that the video is only a small sample of an entire message.

  24. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    “Piper in his lifestyle is probably closer to the prosperity preachers in terms of comfort and belongings than he is to the poorest of the poor in Africa and Asia that he mentions. No he’s not the same as the prosperity preachers are but he’s rich and he lives in comfort and I’m sure he sees it as a blessing from God, which interestingly enough implies that God wants to bless John Piper but he doesn’t want to bless the poorest of the poor in other countries or for them to rise above their poverty.”

    I’m not sure where you’ve gotten your information here. I have seen John Piper’s home and it is not what you would consider a “rich” man’s home. The following information came to me from a girl who went to our church but now works for Desiring God Ministries. Piper lives an extremely modest lifestyle compared to what he could and even compared to other members of his church. His ministry is the only one (of someone with such a high profile) I know of that provides ALL of their resources for free. This alone costs John Piper millions of dollars each year. His ministry is able to do this, in many ways, because of the proceeds from his books, which don’t go straight into his pocket. He has even asked his church to lower his salary numerous times.

    Honestly, people on welfare in the USA live better than “the poorest of the poor in Africa and Asia”. Piper isn’t arguing here that we shouldn’t have money. He’s not saying that it’s wrong that one person has more money than another. He argues that money isn’t the Gospel. God is the Gospel. Piper is all for people having money, if they use that money to glorify God. The problem is that the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel elevates the gifts above the Giver.

  25. Tristan March 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    (Sorry, I meant to include this with the post above, but I forgot. Feel free to enjoy a coffee break between the two;)

    “I mean is suffering and just accepting suffering really that glorifying to God? I mean stoics are pretty good at it and Buddhist monks are too and so are ascetics, more so than we are.”

    Piper isn’t saying here that suffering for the sake of suffering is the ideal. I think his illustration in the clip makes it clear that we shouldn’t simply look to avoid all suffering at every cost, but we should seek to glorify God in the midst of our suffering. This doesn’t mean we seek out suffering, but it can be a valuable opportunity to show where our treasure is. Instead of telling people that God wants them rich, we should be telling people that Christ is sufficient. That God is our portion. Our treasure is not on this earth, but in heaven. If in the midst of our suffering, instead of seeking to get rich, we proclaim that, despite all hardships, God is our treasure, then we make God look great, as He is. Our satisfaction is not found in financial gain but in Christ Himself. I don’t think stoics and Buddhist monks do this.

  26. Bryan L March 6, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    I got my info from Piper saying he was stinking rich because of the value of his home in a Wheaton q&a.

    Have you ever heard how Craig Keener lives? He talks about it in his book “Gift and Giver”. For such an amazing scholar, the way that guy lives is inspiring.

    “Piper isn’t saying here that suffering for the sake of suffering is the ideal.”

    Really? He thinks the thing that brings God the most glory is people suffering and still not letting it get to them but “give God the glory”. ‘So what my daughter just flew through the window. Praise God anyway.’ And since his view is that God brings and ordains our suffering I don’t see how you get past the fact that suffering in a stoic manner by not letting it get to you or effect you or your faith is the most glorifying thing to God. Sorry but I don’t think non-Christians see it as an awesome testimony when you act like the things in this life like family and friends don’t really matter in the long run. You just look not human.

    BTW doesn’t Rick Warren take a particular path in regards to his finances that is rather unique or different too?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  27. Lucas Knisely March 6, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Bryan,

    You said:He thinks the thing that brings God the most glory is people suffering and still not letting it get to them but “give God the glory”

    Where did Piper say that?

    I really think you are missing Piper’s point. Not only that, there is much to be said for Christ saying it is more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. And on top of that, Christ constantly said we would suffer for His sake. Take all that truth, ignoring it, and saying “God wants you to have health and wealth, won’t you embrace Him?” is what Piper is confronting in this audio snippet.

    You say God gets glory from rewarding and blessing those that follow Him, and I agree. Piper isn’t saying anything to contradict that. What Piper is saying is that the Gospel has nothing to do with what God will or will not give you as far as health and wealth on this side of heaven. The Gospel is about Christ being the only way for condemned sinners to be reconciled to God. It is a message of repentance and reconciliation, not a message of how much health and wealth God wants you to have.

  28. Bryan L March 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    Lucas I don’t think you are willing to draw out the implications of Pipers theology or connect the dots.

    Listen to him. What makes Jesus most beautiful is when your daughter goes flying through the windshield and you say God is enough. Your supposed to just act like you didn’t need her. Like your life wasn’t even better because of your children. Like life is all about just you and Jesus. I don’t need any of this other stuff. God is all I need (that sounds very American to me). It tells God that his wonderful gifts aren’t really that wonderful. It’s saying that you can separate the giver and his gifts. It’s implying that your world just shatters and falls apart and the thing Jesus most cares about is whether your saying during that “God is enough”. Give me a break with this overly pious religious stuff. Nobody feels that way unless they’re trying to live up to Piper’s Gospel and what they think God really wants of them.

    God finally speaks to Job when Job gets fed up and demands an answer. It’s not enough to just hear Job say “Blessed be the Lord”. He wants to hear his real heart not that pious religious stuff.

    Seriously just listen to Piper. Out of all the preachers I’ve heard his messages are the ones that I’ve noticed deconstruct themselves the most. Just listen to it carefully and ask questions of it and you’ll begin to see how they deconstruct (I noticed this the most when I listened over and over to his answers in the Wheaton q&a.)

    BTW whenever I hear people talk about the Health and Wealth Gospel I have a feeling they are arguing against a straw man. They’ve read statements here and there (and usually through people critiquing it) and they’ve watched a preacher here and there and then they groups all these statements and different preachers into a theology that no one really preaches in whole and is largely divorced from any actual context and the way its preached.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  29. Tristan March 7, 2008 at 12:01 am #

    “He thinks the thing that brings God the most glory is people suffering and still not letting it get to them but “give God the glory”. ‘So what my daughter just flew through the window. Praise God anyway.’”

    You have to know this is an absolute straw-man. It’s hard to imagine you would misrepresent what he is saying so badly when the video is posted just above, and the words are typed out in the video so you can have no doubt about what he is saying. I challenge you to quote one place in the video where he says, or even implies what you wrote. He says that if your daughter were to die you could say, “through the deepest possible pain, God is enough”. Is there pain? Absolutely, the deepest possible pain. Is he saying “so what”? No. He’s saying that if in the midst of that enormous pain you can rely on God as your strength, as your treasure, as the One who will pull you through, then God is seen as supremely valuable in your life.

    “Sorry but I don’t think non-Christians see it as an awesome testimony when you act like the things in this life like family and friends don’t really matter in the long run.”

    Again, Piper never once suggests that these things don’t matter. I think you know this, it just doesn’t help your argument so you have to force him to say it. What he is saying is that family and friends are not ultimate. God is ultimate. If we lose a family member or a friend and through our tears we say, “God is my strength” that is an “awesome testimony” because it shows where our satisfaction lies. Now does this mean our friends will immediately say, “I want that.” No. But it is a declaration to them of the sufficiency of God and that is glorifying to Him.

    An illustration from the passage he quotes at the end of the video. Psalm 73:26. “My flesh and my heart may fail. But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” The Psalmist is saying even if his flesh fails him. What if he loses both of his legs? Does he just say, “No biggie, I got God”? No, it hurts and it’s painful and there will have to be adjustments. But his legs (his flesh) are not the source of his strength. God is. His legs are not his portion. God is. He perseveres. But why, when his flesh is failing him? Because his strength is in God.

  30. Brett March 7, 2008 at 12:10 am #

    Bryan,

    I understand where you’re coming from. For example, I had a professor who said he had a guy in Sunday school say to him one time, “Prof, I thought my kids got kidnapped the other day and I started panicking. Then I came to my senses…and I just started praising God.”

    Obviously, this is a very whacked out way to looked at it. If you can praise God right after your kids get kidnapped then you don’t care for your kids that much! I understand how this can be taken from Piper’s teaching. However, (and I actually usually don’t defend Piper…I know many of you find that hard to believe!) I’m not sure if this is Piper’s point. The NT is clear that all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer. However, what suffering looks like is where most folks go wrong.

    Some might consider their laptop being stolen while they went to use the bathroom in Starbucks suffering. I would say, no, you’re stupid for leaving your laptop unattended in a public place. That is hardly suffering for Jesus! Some might consider a negative portrayal of evangelicals in the media suffering. I would say, no, we bring that on ourselves when our pastors come out of the closet and we bash people over the head with our Bibles and call them a bunch of sinners with venom and hate.

    I personally take more of an approach of seeing the sufferings of Christ in the Gospels or of Paul. They basically suffered from religious people (a place where I feel much suffering comes from) for basically telling the truth and going against the norm of culture and society.

    Granted, suffering could also look like Job, but I think suffering as it is described in the NT (1 Peter, 1 Timothy, etc) always comes as a result of believing, proclaiming, and living like Jesus Christ.

    If someone were to murder my wife tonight, I wouldn’t ‘take joy in God’s sovereignty and rejoice’. That is completely ridiculous. I would be heartbroken, depressed, angry, downhearted, sad, etc. But I don’t think this is what Piper is talking about (though I think you can get that sometimes from him). I also don’t think he’s suggesting self-inflicted suffering (sleeping with no blanket when it’s cold, standing on your feet for 2 days straight with no sleep). That is just idiotic.

    Actually one of the things that I like about Piper is that he is not driven by greed as are many other popular authors/pastors/scholars. As someone stated earlier, many of his books are free online, and I don’t believe he gets one dime of his book proceeds. I think he drives like a ’96 Saturn, and I also think he lives in a kind of dangerous neighborhood in a modest, humble house.

    My issue with the health/wealth Gospel is that it is not Christian. Jesus never promised us material things as a result of following him…in fact, it’s just about the opposite! It may be a general rule that obedience equals reward or blessing, but this is certainly not always the case. Just look at the life of Paul to confirm that. Also, as a result of the health/wealth Gospel, you have people claiming Christ for the sake of material reward…not for the sake of Christ himself.

    Riches aren’t evil, they just have an extreme tendency to make humans blind and evil. Even if God does bless an individual financially, it is never for their sake…it is so that they can be a blessing to others. It is never to indulge ourselves and buy the biggest and best stuff and live in luxury. Even if God did bless Abraham and Job with riches, that doesn’t mean he deals with all people the exact same way. You can’t always take a contextual passage and make it a universal truth. Anyways, I could say more, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  31. Brett March 7, 2008 at 12:25 am #

    Also Bryan, on another note. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Piper’s analogy about the daughter being thrown through the windshield. If people can say something like, “God is enough” after that, then they are hiding their feelings.

    I actually think it’s good and healthy to lament, weep, and question God. There are lament psalms in the Bible, and other examples of people asking God, “Why”…not “You’re enough God, I take my joy in you.” As many probably know, I don’t really agree with Piper’s famous statement, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” I think God can be glorified when we are sad, angry, upset, and questioning. What does it even mean to be satisfied in God anyways? Always having a smile on your face no matter what happens? I know Piper wouldn’t say this, but I get the since that happiness and joy are equated in his theology. A Hebrew word study will actually show that ‘delighting in God’ actually means to make yourself pliable, not to be happy. Just some food for thought.

  32. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    I’m about to post a comment but it’s long so it will probably get stuck in moderation.
    Just an fyi.

  33. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 1:40 am #

    You have to know this is an absolute straw-man. It’s hard to imagine you would misrepresent what he is saying so badly when the video is posted just above, and the words are typed out in the video so you can have no doubt about what he is saying. I challenge you to quote one place in the video where he says, or even implies what you wrote.

    I’m sorry Tristan but I think many people who love Piper can’t believe that he would actually say or imply the things that he does, so they deny to themselves that he actually does. But he really does. Sorry but there is nothing to misrepresent.

    Ask yourself what does it mean to say that in the midst of tragedy God is enough? Is it just an empty confession or does it really mean something? If it means something then what? What does it mean? Take it out of the abstract. And don’t say what you think it means to you, say what Piper thinks it means.

    He’s saying in the midst of all your pain God cares most that you think he is enough. When Piper makes the most important thing in the midst of tragedy you being able to honestly confess and say that more than that, God is enough then he’s saying in effect it does not matter what you are going through, praise God, be satisfied in God. That means that when you experience extreme suffering and you don’t let it shake you and you don’t let it get to you because at least you have God, then God is most glorified because he really actually is enough. Ultimately he’s either saying this or he’s saying nothing. That’s the beauty of what Piper says. He has a way of being slippery and wording things so it’s hard to pin him down so his fans can always say that’s not what he’s saying when they don’t like people connecting the dots on what he’s saying. He does a lot of double talk so that someone can always say Piper is not saying that. Often people don’t realize the opposing views represented in Piper’s sermons. That’s why his sermons deconstruct themselves.

    When you say God is enough, and then you turn around and say God will get me through the loss of a gift then you are saying opposite things. If God is enough then why do you need him to get you through the loss of something? You are saying that the gifts are so terrible to lose that you need God to give you other thing, other gifts to help you get over the loss of the first gift.

    Let me show you with 2 lines from him that come right after the other.

    “He is good. He will take care of us. He will satisfy us. He will get us through this. He is our treasure”

    “Whom have I in heaven but you? And on Earth there is nothing that I desire besides you.

    These are not saying the same things!!

    To say there is nothing I desire besides you means that you don’t need him to get through the loss of something because you don’t actually desire or want it or anything other than God!!!

    “He says that if your daughter were to die you could say, “through the deepest possible pain, God is enough”. Is there pain? Absolutely, the deepest possible pain. Is he saying “so what”? No. He’s saying that if in the midst of that enormous pain you can rely on God as your strength, as your treasure, as the One who will pull you through, then God is seen as supremely valuable in your life.”

    Again what does it even mean to say God is enough when your daughter dies? Enough what? If you say you’ve had enough of something then you are saying you don’t need or want any more. In the midst of pain you can rely on God as your strength and treasure? He’s seen as supremely valuable? What does that even mean? It’s just more pious talk. What does it look like? Because then you are turning around and saying actually God will have to do more things for you and give you more things to help you get over losing things. Why do you need to get over it if God is enough; all you need or want and no more? It becomes an empty confession. God isn’t enough because the loss of something is so debilitating that you need him to help you get over it.

    That’s like people who say all I need is Jesus. Well then why do they have all that other stuff? Because all they may need is Jesus but he’s not all they want or else that would have nothing because they don’t want anything else. God isn’t enough when you need other things to help you get over losing something other than Jesus. When you need God to give you other material, relational and emotional things to get you through the loss of something you really loved (other than God) then how is he enough? He’s not.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  34. D.J. Williams March 7, 2008 at 7:56 am #

    “Whom have I in heaven but you? And on Earth there is nothing that I desire besides you.”

    I’m having trouble following your line of thought in that last post, Bryan, but I have to ask – you do know that those are Scripture’s words (Psalm 73:25), not Piper’s?

  35. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    Yes I know they are Scripture. What does that have to do with anything? But if I did not know they were scripture what would you have said? What would have been your response? Either way they are still spoken by Piper in agreement as if they are his words and coming from his heart.

    You are troubled by my last post (at least in following my line of thought) yet the only question you decide to ask me is whether I know that Piper quotes Psalms 73:25? Why?

    Bryan

  36. Spanky March 7, 2008 at 8:10 am #

    Dude.

  37. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    Sorry if that sounded a bit snappy. Please don’t take it that way. Thanks

  38. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 8:24 am #

    Bryan,

    I have to honestly say you are putting too many words in the mouth of Piper for me to take your responses seriously on this current topic. To constantly fall back on “these are the implications of his teaching” is not really fair. You take what Piper said, incert Stoicism into it, and say “this is an implication“. What?! Do you realize how uneven handed that is? And to accuse people who like Piper of ignoring these obvious implications and overly pious tones in Piper’s sermons is also unfair. What if I responded by saying, “People who disagree with Piper create phantom ideas and problems to create the illusion of bad teaching.” I’m pretty sure that you and anyone who disagrees with Piper on any given issue would take offense to that. Even though, at this point, after reading all the comments on Denny’s blog concerning Piper, I believe my sentence is closer to being accurate than any of your “implications” from the above sound clip.

    I’ve listened to many of Piper’s sermons, and I think you are grasping at straws to create a negative image of his message in the above clip. Both I and Tristan have shown what Piper is attempting to say, and even Brett, a self professing non-fan of Piper, is defending what Piper said. You seem to be digging your heels in when you should just realize you may have pulled your guns from their holsters too quickly on this one.

  39. Trent G. March 7, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    “It’s implying that your world just shatters and falls apart and the thing Jesus most cares about is whether your saying during that “God is enough”. Give me a break with this overly pious religious stuff. Nobody feels that way unless they’re trying to live up to Piper’s Gospel and what they think God really wants of them.”

    Philippians 1:21 “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Come on, Apostle Paul. You mean to tell me your life is Christ? You need to get a life. You need to get out more and realize there’s a little more to life than just Christ. Get a job man. Get a family or something. Quit being all religious. And then what do you say, “To dies is gain”? Right. So why don’t you just die then. Talk about a guy who has no grasp on reality. Those types of things might be easy to say in the comfort of where and when you lived, but we live in the 21st century America. This is the real thing. We need more than just Christ for our lives. Like your life is just about you and Jesus. Sheesh.

    Philippians 3:8 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” Paul, you are such a religious idiot. Like I’m going to count ALL things loss compared to knowing Christ. Have you ever even had things before. They’re not loss. They’re awesome. I mean I have an XBox dude, not loss. Awesome. You mean we’re supposed to consider everything worthless compared to knowing Christ? Who does that? Get a job Paul. Start making some cash. You’ll see. Besides there’s no difference between “all things” and Christ, because you can’t separate the gift and the giver. Tell you what, you focus on “knowing Christ” (whatever that is anyway) and I’ll focus on “all things” and we’ll see who has the better life. Nobody feels that way Paul. Nobody wants to count all things as rubbish. That’s why we have things in the first place.

  40. Tristan March 7, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    Bryan,
    You accuse Piper of being “slippery” but you pulled off a pretty good one yourself. When I said you were constructing a straw man I was referring to the post where you suggested that Piper was saying, or even implying, that loss is no big deal or we should just shrug it off. In fact, the words you used were “He thinks the thing that brings God the most glory is people suffering and still not letting it get to them but ‘give God the glory'” This is the straw man because Piper never once says that you shouldn’t let it get to you. That it’s not a big deal. My challenge to you was to show where Piper says, it’s not a big deal. Where does he say “don’t let it get to you.”? First you argue that Piper is saying that we should just be emotionless and shrug off the pain (which is a straw man) but then with the quotes you provide you want to argue the issue of whether or not God is enough. If you want to change the subject, that’s fine. I’ll happily discuss with you whether or not God is enough, but I think to be fair you should first defend your straw man. Where does Piper suggest that loss or suffering shouldn’t get to us? Where does he say there shouldn’t be pain? Where does he say we should just shrug it off?

  41. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    Lucas did you just appeal to the majority as the source of truth (you Tristan and Brett)? Wow. And what was that gun in the holster thing supposed to mean? You seem to think really highly of your response as if it is really that devastatingly obvious and irrefutable.

    Look obviously me saying things in a lot of words doesn’t seem to go over well here so I will try to keep it short for you.

    Piper is inconsistent. He’s saying different things in this message and y’all can’t see how they don’t line up.

    If you don’t want to draw implications from his theology and follow them down the road they are on then fine. If you don’t want to try and systematize the different things Piper says and asking how they fit together and whether they make sense or contradict each other then fine.

    But next time Denny post something about some emergent pastor or some other “heretic” or unorthodox teacher show them the same courtesy.

    Tristan,

    In saying that the appropriate response to your daughter flying through the windshield and dying is “God is enough” (listen to the stoic way he even says it) what does that mean? He doesn’t say when your daughter flies through the windshield and is killed you should wail and cry and fall to your knees shouting to God why as you weep over your dead daughter.Instead you should say “God is enough.” Is it exactly stoicism? No but neither are the people being condemned on here all the time as gnostics (Osteen?) exactly gnostics. Either way Piper is advocating an emotionless reaction to pain and suffering where you must control how you respond to these situations by giving the correct response that when you lose something you cherish deeply “God is enough”, “He is All I desire”. Sure I may be speaking a bit hyperbolically when I say imply Piper thinks you should be a robot in the face of tragedy, but his biggest concern (which is shown by how he thinks you should respond) sounds eerily stoic and emotionless, where you just confess God is enough and give him praise.

    Seriously I don’t think you are really listening to the response Piper thinks is the most glorious in the face of the ultimate tragedy of losing a child. I’ve listened to this message over and over and read the transcript over and over and time and time again the thing I notice is that in the face of the biggest tragedy what matters most (because it brings God the most glory) is praising God the way Job does in a sort of pious fatalism. Sure maybe you can do that at first because you feel obligated to but eventually like Job it’s not enough, and you get tired of the silence and you want answers and explanations and you demand God speak to you, and then finally you get a glimpse of him and his awesomeness and majesty. You don’t get it from your stoic-LIKE, pious response.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  42. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 10:05 am #

    Trent,
    I love when someone responds to theological disagreement by quoting their favorite apostle or even Jesus in response and then mockingly responding to that quote in the imagined voice of their interlocutor in a way that how they think they would respond (that shows more what they are actually hearing instead of whether they are actually understanding). What’s even funnier is when it comes from a thread where people are getting up in arms over drawing out implications and what some says and keep responding “But Piper didn’t say that! That’s a straw man!”

    The difference in the scriptures you quote and your imagined responses is that Paul was consistent Piper isn’t. Paul said it and meant Piper and the people listening to this and following his advice and say it but it doesn’t mean anything. Paul really knew what it was like to have much and to also have nothing and still be content (although he had to learn it). We want to act like we have also when our lives clearly show that we haven’t.

    Piper says at the end of his message that he prays “that the Christian church would be marked by suffering for Christ.” Fine take the first step and start living a life that will be marked by suffering and hardship because of preaching of the gospel. Is it really that hard? If that’s what you really want then go ahead. Paul didn’t seem to find it that hard to find suffering when he started living for Christ. But if you don’t really mean that then don’t pray it because honestly it sounds nice and pious but it’s really hollow.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  43. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Bryan,

    You said: “Lucas did you just appeal to the majority as the source of truth (you Tristan and Brett)? Wow.

    No, just pointing out that some of us are defending what was actually said, rather than inserting our own ideas and implications. I’m not appealing to a majority, I’m appealing to the general fairness of what most of us have done. Drawing out your own implications of a pastor you obviously have problems with is blatantly fueled by bias, and the tone of your responses shows that.

  44. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Whatever Lucas. I’ve been talking about what Piper said over and over and have even quoted him multiple times. It’s funny because if y’all took the same method toward the Bible (as far as not drawing implications and asking where things lead or how it all ties together) you sure would not have come up with Calvinism, after all it’s clear Paul never explicitly laid out the 5 points ; )

    Obviously we are not going to agree on this and I’ve written quite a bit on this that has not even been acknowledged or responded to so I’ve learned when it is about time to move on from a discussion that isn’t going anywhere. We are clearly coming from different horizons and thus unable to communicate with each other on this in a way that we can see what the other is saying. Thanks for the discussion y’all.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  45. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    Could you please show me where you quoted Piper multiple times?

  46. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    Oh, and it can’t be quotes from the video, because you only did that once.

  47. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Go back and read through my comments Lucas. Usually they have quotation marks around them.
    But sometimes they’re not in quotes like when I say

    What makes Jesus most beautiful is when your daughter goes flying through the windshield and you say God is enough.

    Now I am summarizing Piper and there is a quote in there although I did shorten the whole of what he said and try to make it a bit more concise. But honestly is what I wrote that much different quoting Piper in full

    I’ll tell you what makes Jesus look beautiful. It’s when you smash your car and your little girl goes flying through the windshield and lands, like [I was with a little girl on 11th Ave two weeks ago;] dead on the street [for three hours before the police could let her go.] And you say, through the deepest possible pain…“God is enough, God is enough.”

    I don’t think anyone would say based on that that I’m not discussing what Piper is actually saying. And when you take into account the other instances where I do actually quote him verbatim then I think the onus is on you to show that you are actually reading my responses carefully because I don’t get the feeling that you are (which is why you are asking me this question now).

    The funny thing is that for someone who keeps arguing about what Piper actually says, and criticizing me for not talking about what Piper says, you have not quoted him once. You haven’t even attempted something like I did above when I made Piper’s statement more concise.
    And in fact you tried to draw out what you thought were the implications of what Piper was saying when you first started responding to me. Look at #23 and #27 and tell me that’s different from me drawing out Piper’s implications and not “putting words in his mouth” or assuming he is saying something that he actually never said.

    That’s why I can tell this isn’t going to go much further and why I would prefer to just move on because the responses are getting more and more irrelevant and baseless. Thanks.

    Bryan

  48. D.J. Williams March 7, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    Bryan,

    I didn’t say I was troubled (though that is true to some degree) about your post, I said I was having trouble following your argumentation, because I honestly think you are setting up a false dichotomy between Piper’s use of Psalm 73:25 and his statements that “God is enough.” I find no conflict between these two statements, and I think you are reaching for an undertone that is not there. Just my perspective. I asked if you realized that passage was Scripture because you seemed to be denigrading the idea that we ought to treasure God to such a degree that the deepest and most profound loss and tragedy (which provokes very real emotions of sadness, loss, and anger) should cause us to exalt him. Your post seemed to frown on the sentiment that “there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.” This statement obviously does not mean that we should care about nothing on this earth (just as Christ’s commands about plucking out the eye don’t call for self-mutiliation), for that would conflict with the countless statements in Scripture imploring us to love our neighbor and to treasure God’s gifts (but to treasure them as an extention of his glory, to see them as channel for praise to God, not an end in-and-of themselves).

  49. Brett March 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

    Bryan,

    I say lets move on and talk about the health/wealth Gospel and your thoughts regarding it. You mentioned earlier about how nobody fits the mold of it as most describe it. So what do you think about it? What do you think about people like Osteen, Meyer, Hinn, Dollar, Tilton, and the like?

  50. Quixote March 7, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    I’m not going to comment about people’s perceptions of the “health and wealth” gospel…which (FYI) no one actually ever calls their own message by that name. It’s a name given by critics, which is an unfair, biased starting point to any intelligent conversation on the subject, but alas.

    What I want you to consider is this: I had heard of John Piper ONCE before I started reading Denny’s blog. I’ve since researched him quite a bit, but my point is, for the most part, the man is not famous outside theological circles. Now consider the “famous” “properity gospel preachers” you all loathe and scorn so much: Hinn, Dollar, Meyer, Copeland… In a recent research survey, do you know the percentage of Americans who have even heard of Joyce Meyer? TD Jakes? JOEL OSTEEN?!?!

    The numbers would astound you, and perhaps make you feel (as I did) rather small in the scope of things. I mean, there are the most famous preachers out there…church memberships in the tens of thousands, on daily TV, traveling worldwide. And the average American has NEVER HEARD OF THEM.

    But of whom HAS the average American heard? Um, may I submit for consideration, OPRAH WINFREY?

    What you all should be up in arms about and blogging about in righteous indignation is the anti-Christ message she is spreading daily to millions and millions of faithful followers via TV and the Web. Check out her latest book club nominee and her Book of Miracles daily lessons she offers.

    Apparently, we have all been given a mission by God. We are responsible to save the world, and to offer salvation to Jesus Christ Himself. Should we refuse our mission, we leave Jesus in hell for eternity.

    Now forget money and healing for a minute, shouldn’t this sort of teaching get our attention? Especially considering that in the big picture, no one’s listening to the prosperity preachers, but the whole world is listening to Oprah. Except maybe those of us who are so consumed with our religious blogs to know what’s happening in the “real world.”

  51. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    Bryan,

    You said: “And when you take into account the other instances where I do actually quote him verbatim

    That is what I’m asking about! I read through all of your responses and you have not quoted Piper other than the small bits from the video. You are making it sound like you’ve been quoting him a bunch, I believe your exact words were “multiple times”.

    The reality is that all you are doing is creating a straw man by “drawing implications” that are not supported by the small sound clip above. When I point this out you defend your actions by claiming you have, “quoted Piper multiple times”. No, you haven’t. You just repeated lines from the video and inserted your own “implications”. 90% of your responses are nothing from Piper’s mouth, but your own implications you’ve created. You are creating a systematic theology book from a 2 minute sound clip, and it isn’t fair nor is it very honest. So no, I’m going to “let it go”, just because it has become obvious you’ve made a poor argument and been unfair and uneven handed in the process. This is why, for a while, I stopped posting on Denny’s blog in the first place. People throw around baseless accusations and broad generalizations, and then when they get called on it, they try to claim “stalemate” and bow out.

    I suppose I could say, “Pastor John Doe is a hypocrite, some 2 minute sound clip on youtube proves it!” And when you defend him, because you see the weakness of my argument, I can just bow out and say, “Look you haven’t read my responses carefully, we aren’t going to get anywhere, stalemate.” I mean, just because you type a lengthy response doesn’t make it any more valid.

  52. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    That is what I’m asking about! I read through all of your responses and you have not quoted Piper other than the small bits from the video.

    Well I quotes him didn’t I? Did I need to quote the whole message? I thought it was obvious what I was referring to and interacting with since that part is probably only like a minute long and the word count of that section is like 172 words. That’s not much to deal with. BTW I like how you subtly changed the requirements that you asked of me. First it was show me any quotes now it’s show me more than “small bits” Well Piper doesn’t really say a whole lot anyway. I interacted with the things I too issue with. Do you want me to quote the whole section for you?!!

    When I point this out you defend your actions by claiming you have, “quoted Piper multiple times”. No, you haven’t.

    Right off the bat I can point to #33, #41 and #42. Multiple means more than once does it not? If you want to split hairs and get technical I sure can too. Please show me where you have even quoted him at all or even summed up one of his statements and made it more concise like I have. Lucas I have actually interacted with the message in the video a whole lot more than you have at all. I’ve actually put forth reasoning and arguments.

    All I’ve seen you do is say stuff like “The reality is that all you are doing is creating a straw man by “drawing implications” that are not supported by the small sound clip above.”

    That’s not actually making an argument or response Lucas. I can say the exact same type of stuff about your responses or even about Piper’s message but it doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t further discussion.

    90% of your responses are nothing from Piper’s mouth, but your own implications you’ve created.

    None of what you’ve responded with is from Pipers mouth and as I pointed out you drew implications of what Piper said (without quoting him) and implications from what I said too. Read post #27 and tell me you aren’t going further than Piper did and making him say things he didn’t.

    You are creating a systematic theology book from a 2 minute sound clip, and it isn’t fair nor is it very honest.

    You’re just getting silly now.

    So no, I’m going to “let it go”, just because it has become obvious you’ve made a poor argument and been unfair and uneven handed in the process.

    You haven’t even made any arguments!!! I’m sorry but I don’t know how to say it any slower for you Lucas since I’m typing this. BTW I type lengthy response because I hope by saying it over and over it will eventually sink in with you and after reading it a few times or worded in a few different ways you will get it…

    This is why, for a while, I stopped posting on Denny’s blog in the first place. People throw around baseless accusations and broad generalizations, and then when they get called on it, they try to claim “stalemate” and bow out.

    You should have stayed out then because nobody wants to see you go on another vendetta they way you did with Brett. Get over yourself. Lucas I’ve been commenting on this blog for quite a while now. And I’ve been in a lot of debates and discussions on this blog. Real ones, not the type you get into. I don’t think I need to prove whether I’m up for a vigorous debate, discussing the issues or not. But after all the commenting and debating I’ve done on this blog I think I can recognize when a discussion isn’t going anywhere and it’s just getting silly. This is a great example of such a time.

    Bryan

  53. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm #

    oops didn’t mean to bold all of that. my bad.

  54. Trent G. March 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Bryan,
    You accuse me of making a straw man out of your argument and then you defend a completely different argument. Those passages were a response to your statements that Piper shouldn’t be talking about how we only need Jesus. You said it was crazy talk to act like God is enough. You seemed to spurn the idea that someone could desire nothing on this earth but God. I was simply showing you that these are biblical concepts. But when faced with that you flip flop. You say Piper shouldn’t say it without meaning it or he should be consistent. Your original argument was, “Don’t say that because it’s wrong”. Your second defense is “If you say it, you better mean it, or you better be consistent.” Which one is it?

    As to your claim of inconsistency. It’s just as baseless as your other claims. You seem to suggest that Piper doesn’t suffer. I would argue that we all suffer. Now, I know what you’ll say. “Yeah, right, how does a prominent preacher in America suffer. He lives a pretty comfortable lifestyle. That’s not suffering.” It seems your criteria for suffering is persecution. There’s a difference. Look at the example Piper gives. In his example suffering is the tragic loss of a dear loved one. Surely this is the kind of suffering any culture can relate to. So for your claim of inconsistency to hold up Piper would have to respond to the death of a dear loved one by throwing in the towel, by showing that God isn’t that great, by admitting that there were other things on this earth he desires more than God. But we have recent examples of him doing the opposite. He has recently spoke at the funerals of both his granddaughter (still born) and his beloved father. He has admitted excruciating pain and tears in both of the losses, but at the same time he has held God up as glorious and worthy of all praise.

    When he prayed “that the Christian church would be marked by suffering” you have to understand that in the context of what he is arguing against. He is arguing against a “gospel” that teaches that there is something inherently unbiblical or unchristian about suffering. Piper is saying, there is nothing wrong with suffering, we all suffer, and instead of shaming those who suffer because they lack faith we should be a church who says suffering is a part of life and who glorifies God in the midst of suffering (but does not seek it out as you suggest). Suffering is a distinctive feature of the Christian church, as seen throughout the New Testament, and we shouldn’t hide from that fact or claim that it is not.

  55. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    I see what you’re saying D.J. Believe me I wasn’t trying to sound like I was denigrating scripture. I would go more into what my point was but I’m afraid someone might pick up on a side comment I make and run with it and start this all over and I’m just not up for it. Sorry.

    Brett,
    My thought on the health and wealth were summed up in #28 earlier. In discussions like these I think it’s really a straw man to talk about the health and wealth gospel. See my comment there for why I believe so. Am I opposed to the theory of the H&W? yes but I don’t know that anyone actually preaches it that way any more or that it’s not a lot more nuanced and qualified than it’s being presented as. BTW did anyone check out that article I linked to earlier?

    Bryan

  56. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Bryan,

    You said:”You should have stayed out then because nobody wants to see you go on another vendetta they way you did with Brett. Get over yourself.

    You choose to bring up a past situation where Brett slandered/attacked me and refused to have reconciliation, and you have the gall to summarize it as a “vendetta”?

    First, I didn’t “subtly change the requirements”, my second post says, and I quote “Oh, and it can’t be quotes from the video, because you only did that once.” The very fact that you admit this, “Well Piper doesn’t really say a whole lot anyway.” proves what I’ve been saying all along. You are taking a 2 minute sound clip and running with your “implications” and accusing a man of being inconsistent. You are so dead set on showing the error of Piper that when I call you on it, you claim you’ve quoted Piper “multiple times”. Oh really? You quoted a 2 minute video “multiple times” to prove your lengthy responses and “implications”? I mean, come on man, you can’t see how unfair and uneven handed you are being? And now you accuse me of not making an argument? What, according to you, qualifies as an argument? Taking small quotes, extracting my own implications from them, and then running with a lengthy accusatory response? Because that is exactly what you’ve done. So no, according to your own way of making an argument, I have not made an argument. I wouldn’t be caught dead making such baseless and unfounded accusations toward a well studied man of God like John Piper. You can’t just hurl accusations and think everyone will nod in agreement because you’ve drawn “implications” and typed a huge response to a one sentence quotation.

    Second, I can’t even respond to what you’re saying anymore because you just keep repeating yourself. A handful of you guys make this the token way to argue on this site. Just keep repeating your baseless straw man argument in the hopes to exhaust the person disagreeing with you, and then stalemate.

    Third, if you admit that all you are doing is responding to a few sentences from the video clip, then the discussion is over. If you want to draw “implications” and large conclusions from a small sound bite, feel free. I honestly read your argument and thought you were responding to John Piper as a whole, and possibly had other sermons or quotes that brought you to your tall order of accusation. But alas, you’re content to create an entire argument in response to a few sentences. This ultimately shows the shallowness and weakness of the entire argument.

    Finally, you are becoming hostile and uncharitable just because I’m asking you to back up your statements. That is telling… very telling.

  57. Brett March 7, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Bryan,

    I understand your points about the health/wealth Gospel, and agree with some of them. However, even though there is not one person we can fit into the “system” we have created, the reality is certainly there. The basic message of many popular speakers (Osteen, Meyer, etc) is that God WANTS you to be promoted, God WANTS you to have nice things and live in a nice house. This is a reality Bryan and there is no way you can deny it. This is real stuff that many people hear and believe, and it is simply anti-Christian. There’s no way you can tell me you don’t get that message whenever you listen to some of the people I listed above in #49.

    I went to India a couple of years ago, and Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer were so popular there it was disgusting. You could tell it in the way people spoke. They thought God wanted the nicest and best things for them. They wanted to have their “best life now”. The message these people speak is hardly anything the NT describes, and it is extremely popular. You make some good points, but in no way can you dismiss this and leave it at that. This is serious stuff and people are being led astray.

    It isn’t just reformed conservatives who believe this way. Emergers and postmoderns very much feel this way as well about these people. Though no person may preach the health/wealth gospel in it’s entirety as it is described by some, people preach the majority of it…and it is despicable and untrue. To deny this and just call it a straw man seems to be denying the reality of it.

    As you know, I am not a Calvinist in the least bit, but I would believe and live by the 5 points of TULIP any day before I would believe and live by the crap some of these people preach. It is anti-gospel. Do you not see this?

  58. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    What I find confusing about you Lucas is that you criticize people for things that you do and then when you are called out on it you try to turn the tables around.

    You blast me for not quoting more Piper and dealing with what he says. I point to you where I actually did and then point out how you didn’t even quote him once or try to summarize one of his quotes and deal with the content of the video and then you turn around and try to act like you didn’t call me out on it first and I’m not just pointing out your inconsistency.

    You first brought up why you stopped commented on this blog and then when I referred to that situation you say I have the nerve to bring it up past situations.

    I could go on.

    The funny thing is that yes I am criticizing Piper for this 2 minute clip but so what. Is it off limits because of its shortness? If people can praise Piper for what he says in that short 2 minutes then it follows that I can criticize it as well.

    And I don’t see what I’m doing that is any different than what has been done on this blog many many times before. Osteen gets criticized and called a gnostic because of a a short interview he does and people start blasting him left and right. Rob Bell gets shot at all the time and no one even quotes him at all. People on this blog are more than willing to tear down Christians teachers and leaders, calling them heretics or unorthodox based on a quote or quick video out of context and never even having read or listened to anything else the author said. Do you see the irony in all of this Lucas?

    The way this site works is that often short quotes or video clips of someone saying something are posted and then people comment on it and, yeah, even draw implications from what they are saying. There is nothing wrong with doing that. I’ve tried to show why I find the implications of what Piper says troubling.

    If Piper says “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him in the midst of loss, not prosperity.” Then I don’t see anything wrong in asking what that implies. I don’t see anything wrong in questioning whether there is some Biblical data that says otherwise.

    When Piper says “Oh how I pray that America would be purged and that the Christian church…would be marked by suffering for Christ.” I don’t see anything wrong in wondering whether he is being consistent in what he deeply prays for and whether he really wants that to happen.

    When he talks about what “makes God look glorious, as GOD, not as giver of cars or safety or health” I don’t see any problem in wondering whether he has taken people in the bible like Job seriously (whom he often draws on for his theology of suffering and sovereignty).

    Please practice consistency. If you don’t like it being done then don’t do it yourself. And when you see like minded people on here tearing down someone that you disagree with based on a short video clip or quote then call them out on it and raise a big ruckus like you’re doing now.

    Thanks.

    Bryan

  59. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    Brett,

    “The basic message of many popular speakers (Osteen, Meyer, etc) is that God WANTS you to be promoted, God WANTS you to have nice things and live in a nice house.”

    Do you believe God doesn’t want you to have any of those things? Do you believe that God doesn’t want to bless you? When you receive those things do you believe that God didn’t want you to have them or that he did? Obviously you probably thanks God for those things, I’m guessing (I do).

    So that brings up the interesting scenario or question. If in America where you are extremely blessed, you would attribute that blessing to God am I right? What then would you attribute to people suffering in 3rd world countries. Would you say that God didn’t want to bless them? Would you go there and try to give them any hope of rising above that? And if would try to give them hope would you ground that hope in themselves and their own hard work and effort or would you ground it in God? Would you tell them that God blesses those who are faithful with little and that he wants them to be faithful with little so that he can bless them with more?

    Also I realize that a lot of people believe a particular way about the H&W Gospel (reformed folk, emergents, pomos, Arminians, liberals ,conservatives, etc.) but a lot of people have also not done any real research and just continue to perpetuate stereotypes, prejudices and misconceptions without ever questioning them just because they have inherited them, so I don’t think it necessarily helps to say how many groups are against the H&W Gospel. I mean I haven’t read or watched the primary sources any more than the next guy so I wouldn’t want anyone to take my opinion on the H&W gospel because I haven’t studied it from the mouths of those who preach it. The thing is I do know people who are wonderful Christians who love those preachers and they don’t go around believe that God wants them to have a BMW and that he wants them to be rich. They do believe he cares for them and wants the best for them but they believe it is up to God to decide what that best is, not them.

    I’m just raising some questions and playing a little devils advocate. The thing is I take a somewhat scientific approach to theology. I try to prove things wrong or inconsistent. I look for holes or blind spots in arguments. Those things that can survive or withstand it are more worthy of being held onto I believe because they stand up under the scrutiny. And so often the best places to do that is when people just agree with each other on certain things and don’t question their assumptions. This is a good example since most everyone here agrees on the health and wealth gospel. So please don’t assume too much of my questions or that they are reflective of what I actually believe. : )

    Blessings,
    Bryan

  60. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    Trent,

    “You accuse me of making a straw man out of your argument”

    “You said it was crazy talk to act like God is enough. You seemed to spurn the idea that someone could desire nothing on this earth but God.”

    “Your original argument was, “Don’t say that because it’s wrong”.”

    I did? Where did I say all that? Do you have a quote? ; )

    “Piper is saying, there is nothing wrong with suffering, we all suffer, and instead of shaming those who suffer because they lack faith we should be a church who says suffering is a part of life and who glorifies God in the midst of suffering (but does not seek it out as you suggest). Suffering is a distinctive feature of the Christian church, as seen throughout the New Testament, and we shouldn’t hide from that fact or claim that it is not.”

    Really? He said that? I must have missed that quote? Oh are these implications? I would hate to continue making or discussing implications of what Piper says. I’ve seen the kind of reaction that gets me.

    Trent, all kidding aside honestly I think too much has been written to hope to have much of a discussion any more or clarify what has been said. We would literally have to go through each of my posts one by one and I would have to elaborate and answer questions on everything I said. If you want to bring up one particular point we can discuss it and move on. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m trying to duck this but honestly the responses are getting too long and complex. If you have a particular thing you want to ask me then go ahead and I will tell you what I think and then we can move on from there. If not then I don’t know what else to tell you.

    Let me know.

    Bryan

  61. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    Bryan,

    I don’t have to quote Piper to deal with what you are saying, and I’ll tell you why. When Osteen gets blasted for an interview where he answers direct questions about why he does or does not preach a certain way, that is entirely different than you accusing Piper of inconsistency and Stoicism from a 2 minute sermon sample clip about the prosperity Gospel.

    When I or someone else addresses Osteen saying that he doesn’t preach on sin, we are addressing what Osteen said. You aren’t addressing the message of the video, which is that the prosperity Gospel is anti-Christian garbage. You are addressing a singled out sentence that you have drawn “implications” from. That is a huge difference. If someone here took one singled out sentence from any sermon, I’m sure they could make it look heretical. If you are going to draw up such large accusations and “implications” you should use more material. Broad generalizations are made quite thin by a lack of evidence. If you show me a bunch of quotes and sermons where Piper dogmatically asserts what you claim, then you’ll have achieved something. But standing on 1 or 2 sentences is not fair or honest.

    And again, I do not need to quote Piper to defend what he is saying, because you aren’t addressing what he said. You are addressing your “implications” that you’ve created from 2 sentences. Now, if you started defending the health and wealth Gospel and disagreeing with the entire crux of the 2 minute clip, then I would have to quote some of the video to engage you. But since you see fit to take a handful of statements and create an entire system of “implications” I see no point in quoting a video that won’t contradict a system that has nothing to do with the actual content of the video.

  62. Quixote March 7, 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    Brett, Tristan, Lucas, Piper,

    God DOESN’T want you blessed. God DOESN’T want you well. God DOESN’T want you whole. God DOESN’T want you to live in peace. God DOESN’T want you healed. God DOESN’T want you to enjoy life.

    There. Does that make you feel better? After all, that IS what you’re saying…when you claim that saying God DOES want these things is unbiblical.

    Who in their right mind would want to serve this God?

    (He sounds an awful lot like the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And very little like the God who came that we might have life, and enjoy it to the full.)

  63. Bryan L March 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    Fine Lucas. I really don’t feel like going back and forth on this and arguing with you any more. It really is not a good investment of my time. When we stopped actually talking about the video (which was dismissed as evidence of what Piper believed) and started talking about the way the argument played out it just got uninteresting for me. Take care and be well.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  64. Lucas Knisely March 7, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    Quixote

    You said: “After all, that IS what you’re saying…when you claim that saying God DOES want these things is unbiblical.

    I don’t recall anyone saying that. The video is about the prosperity GOSPEL. Why are so many people missing that basic and fundamental piece to the puzzle? Your response ignores that we’ve been discussing the prosperity GOSPEL and you’ve drastically missed the mark as a result.

    Nobody, I repeat, nobody has said God doesn’t want us to be blessed or to have nice things.

  65. Quixote March 7, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    Lucas,

    I’m sorry. Your point is lost on me.

    Q

  66. Brett March 8, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    Quixote,

    I never said any such thing. You’re extrapolating my statement way beyond the bounds that I ever intended them to be. I’m saying you can’t make this a universal principle for all followers of Christ, which I believe is what many people do.

    Was Paul blessed financially? Did Paul suffer? Was Paul in peace? Did Jesus suffer? Was he rich?

    I’m saying ‘blessing’ does not always involve material possessions and finances. I do consider financially well-off people as a blessing from God, but this is NEVER EVER a blessing just for themselves. God never blesses people solely for themselves, but so that they may be a blessing to others. I view the doctrine of ‘election’ in the same light. Financial and material blessing, like election, is never an end in itself, but a means to an end.

    The message I get from hearing some preachers is that God wants all the things for you and your benefit alone. This is the problem, because then we have people claiming and following Christ for a financial and material reward instead of a reward in heaven. I don’t know how you could get that message from what Lucas, Tristan, Piper, and myself are saying. Suffering is a prominent motif in the New Testament and it might benefit you some to look at it.

    Also, you can’t always play the Old Testament card (Abraham was rich, Job was rich). God deals with individual and corporate people differently according to where they are at in life and what time period they live in. Progressive revelation is a belief that makes sense of much of the Bible.

    Bryan,

    Good questions. I answered some above, and appreciate that you play devil’s advocate because it helps us think through and wrestle with issues we have not previously thought through or wrestled with. By all means, please continue.

  67. Bryan L March 8, 2008 at 7:44 am #

    “The message I get from hearing some preachers is that God wants all the things for you and your benefit alone.”

    Brett this again is something that I see a problem with in saying some preachers say this. The problem with this is that we can talk about the prosperity Gospel but we don’t really know who to point at and accuse of preaching it. You may mention Meyers or Osteen or Duplantis, etc. but I have the feeling if were to listen to them a lot more we would see a very nuanced view coming from each of them. I’m sure you would see suffering pop up in their messages. I’m sure you would see being blessed so that you could be a blessings popping up in their message. I hate to use the term but what I’m afraid of is this being a straw man type of thing, where we are getting all huffy puffy about something that people don’t really preach (or at least not that many).

    For instance I’m not a Calvinist so if I were to speak against Calvinism I would try to make sure I am at least representing them correctly; appealing to their own words; their major teachers; agreed on views; and so on. If I started speaking against hypercalvinism and calling it Calvinism and had no one who I could really point to as holding to that view, some might agree with me that that is something we should take a stand against but they might not see the importance of getting huffy about it because I haven’t shown that it really that much of a problem or that common or that anyone really preaches that outside fundamentalist circles.

    Do you see what I’m trying to get at?

    So Piper says in this video:

    I don’t know what you feel about the prosperty gospel; the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. But I’ll tell you what I feel about it; hatred.

    It is not the gospel. It is being exported from this country to Africa and Asia. Selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor, “Believe this message, your pigs won’t die. Your wife won’t have miscarriages. You’ll have rings on your fingers and coats on your back.” That’s comin’ out of America!

    Ok that’s fine but who’s saying that? Where is it coming from? How prevalent is it? Sure Piper doesn’t go much into it in the video, maybe he does somewhere else, but just based on that little info, although I do agree with him that that is a dangerous or false message I’m curious who is actually preaching it, what evidence there is and whether it is really common enough that it needs to be used as a foil against the other thing he preaches on in that short message, suffering.

    The problem with using terms like the Prosperity Gospel and the Health and Wealth Gospel is that they are very broad words that everybody imports their own meaning and ideas into and so they are ultimately ambiguous and unhelpful terms to use. And so it also becomes hard to define who fits into that group, and whether they always do and whether it is really that common.

    Maybe the situation in other countries is actually a lot more nuanced than what Piper says. Maybe they’re not promising anything but just saying God doesn’t want you to remain in poverty forever he wants you to rise above that. He wants you to be generous with what you have though and he will bless you with more. Maybe as far as the miscarriages and the pigs dying there is a spiritual or demonic connection there and preachers who are going over there are partaking in spiritual warfare and believing that Jesus will defeat the damage the enemy is doing over there and that people will see their pregnancies carried through and their crops and animals flourishing.

    My point is that I agree with Piper but just don’t know if it is as black and white as he paints it in this short message (or if he even means it to come off that way) and if it really something that we should get all up in arms about or if there is a lot more going on there than we really know.

    Hope that makes sense as to why I have some reservations about this type of things.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  68. Quixote March 8, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Brett,

    I don’t have time to get into a long debate. You are lumping a lot of people into one big term and a term that those people don’t even use at that. (So, Lucas, you can settle down about the term Prosperity GOSPEL, because I’ve never heard one single preacher blamed on this blog use that term, ever.)

    So, Brett, I’ll just answer your questions and leave it at that:

    “Was Paul blessed financially? Did Paul suffer? Was Paul in peace? Did Jesus suffer? Was he rich?”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    FYI: Suffering persecution for the sake of the Gospel is different from suffering in poverty or sickness which are both curses of the law, which Christians are redeemed from according to Galatians, seeing as how Christ redeemed us from the curse.

    What should anger us all more than the “prosperity gospel” (as Piper calls it) is perhaps the fact that we’re living far below the standard Jesus and Paul revealed in the true Gospel.

  69. Tristan March 8, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    Bryan,
    I really mean no offense by this so please don’t take it that way, but it seems that when it comes to the health and wealth gospel you’re coming at it from a position of ignorance. Again, no offense, you seem to acknowledge this yourself so I hope you understand what I’m saying. The reason I bring this up is because without a grasp of what this “gospel” teaches I don’t know that we can accurately denounce or support it. I think this is what you’re getting at in your post to Brett.

    In light of this, I will add a little personal experience. I was involved with a church for several years that taught the health and wealth gospel. I read their literature, I went to their conferences, and I was very involved in the church. I wish I could say that I didn’t hear and see the things I did during that time. I wish I could say that a lot of the judgments on their theology are just caricature, but unfortunately most of it is accurate. If you want proof, take a look at Quixote’s post #68. He’s clearly saying the true gospel means that you should be healthy and you should be wealthy. And to support his claim he has to completely jump off the ship of rationality and claim that both Jesus and Paul were rich. This teaching isn’t as uncommon as you may like to think.

    It was because of this teaching that I was standing next to a woman when her PASTOR told her that the reason she miscarried her two babies was because she didn’t have enough faith to bring them to term. I also knew a young girl who was born with several mental and physical problems, among those very poor eyesight. She wore very very thick glasses and at several church meetings and almost every conference she would have her eyesight “healed”. Of course, within hours her glasses would be on. I was told several times that she lacked faith. I heard message after message that told the listeners that they should be wealthy. Now this struck me as very ironic considering 99.99% of the people who listened to these messages were middle-class Americans. They already ARE rich. Numerous other stories could be told. I realize this is all anecdotal, but I provide it as personal evidence that this kind of stuff IS actually taught.

    Now, it’s one thing for Christians to go around American suburbs and pat themselves on the back for having all kinds of money and health. But what i think Piper is getting at, and obviously makes him angry, is that we take this same “gospel” to places like Africa and say, “If you’re not living like Americans it’s because you don’t have enough faith.” Now if Quixote were to go to Africa he would tell people with Aids living in true poverty that the true gospel means they shouldn’t be poor and they shouldn’t be sick, but that’s not what they need. They need to trust in Someone whose, despite any situation in life, “grace is sufficient”.

    Finally, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the health and wealth gospel is an American invention. This should be enough to dismiss it. Theology like this would never come about if as a nation we weren’t grossly overpaid, overfed, and over-entertained. Ultimately, I don’t think Christians (not necessarily just Christians either) in Africa should be poor, but I think so for a different reason. I think it’s the responsibility of “rich” (meaning almost every American) Christians to provide for “poor” Christians instead of merely telling them “have more faith” or “poverty is a curse of the law”. Instead, we develop theological systems that make us feel good about wallowing in our wealth.

  70. Lucas Knisely March 8, 2008 at 10:20 am #

    You may mention Meyers or Osteen or Duplantis, etc. but I have the feeling if were to listen to them a lot more we would see a very nuanced view coming from each of them.

    I watch Osteen on a regular basis, and the crux of most of his sermons is, “God wants you to have more happiness, health, and things than you have now, you just have to let him.” I make it a point to listen to the entire sermon when I find him preaching because I don’t want to swallow snippet descriptions of him and his preaching. But Osteen has made it quite clear in numerous interviews that he does not preach the Gospel. There are also numerous video clips on youtube, much longer than the above clip, that show Osteen preaches a prosperity flavored Gospel.

    I agree that the term, “Prosperity Gospel”, is a broad term, because nobody has written a book on the 5 marks of a good Prosperity Gospel Sermon. So yes, when someone flavors their teaching with prosperity driven rhetoric, like Osteen, they will be accused of preaching the Prosperity Gospel. Should someone respond dogmatically, “That is wrong! Leave Osteen alone!”? No, I don’t think so. Every Christian should be at the bare minimum dissatisfied with preaching like Osteen’s. Some of us, however, are more than dissatisfied, which I believe is Biblical and warranted.

    After typing all of that, I realized why Piper didn’t mention any groups or preachers by name. Because it starts to distract from the main idea: any form of a false Gospel is damning refuse that we should seek to correct and expunge.

    And Quixote,

    You said: “(So, Lucas, you can settle down about the term Prosperity GOSPEL, because I’ve never heard one single preacher blamed on this blog use that term, ever.)

    The reason I got stern about the Prosperity Gospel is because your responses were ignoring the current topic and therefore extrapolating false summaries and paraphrases of what had been said. If you aren’t skimming responses, then maybe read them twice, because you are really missing the mark… again.

  71. Quixote March 8, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    Tristan,

    Please don’t misquote me or create a dialog in your own mind and then attach my name to it.

    Thanks.

    Q

  72. Quixote March 8, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Here’s some food for thought, for anyone who hasn’t already closed their mind on this subject.

    Definition of “poor”: indigent, impoverished, needy, wanting in material goods, destitute, feebles, dejected, worthy of pity or sympathy, inferior, pitiful, second-class, second-rate, lacking, insufficient.

    Definition of “prosperous”: marked by success or economic well-being, enjoying vigorous and healthy growth, flourishing, successful, robust, progressing, favorable.

    Which definition best describes the biblical Jesus?

    Here are some informative facts from God’s Word:

    1. As a child, Jesus received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

    2. Jesus had many partners who faithfully and consistently supported His ministry financially.

    3. The Bible indicates that Jesus had a house or residence.

    4. When it was necessary, God’s miraculous power operated through Jesus to see that His needs and the needs of others were met.

    5. The Bible indicates that Jesus’ ministry assisted the poor financially on a regular basis.

    6. Jesus had enough funds to require a treasurer, and enough that when the treasurer embezzled money from time to time, it wasn’t immediately noticed.

    7. Jesus distinguished Himself from the poor.

    8. Jesus was not the least bit bothered when perfume worth a year’s salary was used to anoint him.

    9. The testimony of Jesus’ own disciples at the end of His earthly ministry was that they never lacked anything.

    10. When Jesus was crucified, His clothes were nice enough that the Roman soldiers gambled for them.

    I believe these scriptural facts alone (there are others) are compelling proof that Jesus was not poor, but a prosperous man. I’m not suggesting that He lived an extravagant lifestyle, but He had His needs amply met during His life on earth, enabling Him to do what God had asked Him to do AND to also give to others.

    Isn’t that the key? We all have varying needs depending on what we’ve been asked to do. Paul confirms that all of us should have enough supply to meet our own needs and to give to the needs of others.

    That is biblical. That is prosperity. As far as health goes…everywhere Jesus went, what did He do? Preaching, Teaching, Healing. Doing Good. Setting the captives free. Sight to the blind. Hearing to the deaf. Life to the dead. If Jesus is truly alive today, why would stop doing what He’s always done? In America, in Africa, in Honduras…Jesus is the same as He’s always been: going about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil because God is with Him. Shouldn’t we, His body on earth, do the same?

    Again, (to borrow from my boy CS Lewis) most of us are content to play in mud puddles because we have no idea what it means to holiday by the sea.

  73. Tristan March 8, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    Sorry, in the following phrase:
    “Now if Quixote were to go to Africa he would tell people with Aids living in true poverty that the true gospel means they shouldn’t be poor and they shouldn’t be sick, but that’s not what they need. They need to trust in Someone whose, despite any situation in life, “grace is sufficient”.”

    Please strike “Quixote” and add “anybody who thinks ‘that we’re living far below the standard Jesus and Paul revealed in the true Gospel.'”

    Thanks.

  74. Bryan L March 8, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Tristan,

    I have a little more familiarity than you realize, but I don’t take offense at your comments. My comment about primary sources was saying in a sense, I’m not a regular watcher of people like Myers, Duplantis and Osteen although I have seen all of them on numerous occasions. And unless anyone here is a regular watcher and reader of their books then it is not helpful to talk about what they preach (especially if we are just going to use generalizations).

    And yes your evidence is anecdotal but is still useful. Let me be clear I am aware of the type of stuff that you are talking abut and am against it but where is it coming from? Are the popular tv preachers telling people that if you don’t bring a baby full term then it because you lacked faith or is it more of a folk religion hybrid of what they are teaching in the same way hyper-calvinism is of calvinism?

    That is why in this discussion it is helpful to establish what exactly we are aiming at? Are we talking about what people actually preach or the common person’s misunderstanding of it? How many have really studied the impact of the H&W Gospel on other countries. True data not just anecdotal. How many have really studied the way it is believed in other countries and the differences between the various locations? And how many have studied whether this is the fault of the preachers or the result of what happens when religion mixes with the cultural aspects of the people. Look at Catholicism in places like Mexico and the Vatican. You will see a big difference. Look at the difference between the views of eschatology in your average left behind church and Dallas Theological Seminary.

    “Finally, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the health and wealth gospel is an American invention. This should be enough to dismiss it. Theology like this would never come about if as a nation we weren’t grossly overpaid, overfed, and over-entertained. Ultimately, I don’t think Christians (not necessarily just Christians either) in Africa should be poor, but I think so for a different reason.”

    But the question is if it an American invention and something that is closely bound with our context and our economic system why is it catching on in other countries? Why are people believing it if it doesn’t work? Is it giving them some hope that they didn’t have before?

    Again I think the main question that comes to my mind is this: If you are living the average middle class life and you feel you are particularly blessed by God and attribute your good fortune to God, what do you tell someone who is poor or who lives in a 3rd world country?

    Do you tell them they are not blessed by God? Do you tell them they stay that way because God doesn’t want them to have more? Do you tell them it has nothing to do with God and more about hard work or being in the right place at the right time and who you know? Do you tell them God does not want to bless them enough to rise above the poverty level? How do you tell them to pray and what kind of answers do you give them when their situation does not change? Do you tell them it might or tell them to have hope and faith that it will?

    If you believe that God blesses us so that we will bless others would it be appropriate to say that God wants to bless us but the fault lies with his people who don’t want to give any of their blessings to others?

    Either way no matter what system you hold these are difficult answers to have to give and they will both create certain problems for people.

    In criticizing this particular movement (the H&W Gospel) it is helpful that an alternative is provided that is more than just telling people to accept their lot and continue to give God the glory for it. That’s an easier pill to swallow in our American context but not so much in poor, poverty stricken places.

    This is part of what the article I linked to was speaking of. A theology of the middle.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  75. JNG March 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    What happened to Lucas’ call to unity? I guess when the topic is “argumentative” enough unity gets thrown out. It is quite obvious that “walking in love” is not practiced on this board.

    One thing I love about the “prosperity Gospel” teachers. They walk in love. It is absolutely amazing how well they walk in love. They have embraced the commandment of the NT and strive for it with a passion. It really speaks to me about what Gospel they are reading and what Gospel they are preaching. The ones that disagree with them seem to have a very hard time with this commandment and therefore I have to wonder where they are coming from.

    These “prosperity Gospel” preachers go all over the world spreading the message of Jesus Christ. They pour tens of millioins of dollars into outreaches that positively effect those in the U.S. and in the world. They are getting people saved, they are giving people hope in Jesus, but that isn’t ever discussed when they come up.

    I have yet to see anyone clearly define the prosperity Gospel and like Quixote I have never heard one of these ministers use the term. It is a silly mis-characterization that is used in certain circles to sow division and strife within the body of Christ.

  76. Lucas Knisely March 8, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    JNG,

    Joining late and passively accusing me of causing disunity isn’t fair nor will it accomplish much.

    I have not insulted, attacked, or slandered Bryan… we are merely having a disagreement. You would do well not to cast baseless accusations, especially this late in the game.

    You said: “One thing I love about the “prosperity Gospel” teachers. They walk in love. It is absolutely amazing how well they walk in love. They have embraced the commandment of the NT and strive for it with a passion.

    I would like to see you defend anti-Gospel garbage like the prosperity Gospel as “walking in love”. What New Testament commandment are you even referring to? Misleading people with a false Gospel is dripping with hatred. So your definition of “walking in love” is actually “walking in hatred”.

    You said: These “prosperity Gospel” preachers go all over the world spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

    So the message of Jesus Christ is the prosperity Gospel? Where in Scripture can you defend this?

    You said: They pour tens of millioins of dollars into outreaches that positively effect those in the U.S. and in the world. They are getting people saved, they are giving people hope in Jesus, but that isn’t ever discussed when they come up.

    So misleading people with a false Gospel is a positive thing? Hope in Jesus? Or hope in what gifts can be received according to a false Gospel presentation?

    You said: “I have yet to see anyone clearly define the prosperity Gospel and like Quixote I have never heard one of these ministers use the term.

    One negative result of joining the discussion late is skimming through responses and missing things that have already been covered. I already agreed that there is no clear cut definition of the prosperity Gospel. There are, however, promises of prosperity within many preacher’s Gospel presentation. Osteen is one such preacher.

    You can hold up in the Alamo of, “There is no clear cut definition of the prosperity Gospel!”, all day. It doesn’t negate or refute anything that has been said. You can throw around “walking in love” rhetoric in an attempt to rose color the appearance of prosperity Gospel preachers. But the cold hard fact is that they do not preach the Gospel, and are therefore condemned by the word of God through Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

  77. JNG March 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    When you find a “prosperity preacher” out attacking other people from the pulpit or in their books get back to me. When you find quotes from them going after other ministers and men of God let me know.

    Until then I suggest you do a little research on walking in love and what it means. What they teach is not hatred and the fact that you would even jump to that shows what deception you have bought into, and the sad reality of your own hatred for what is different from what you believe.

    Do you really want to argue that these people are not doing good? That they are not bringing lost souls to salvation? They are need feeding and clothing the poor? If you can make that argument with a straight face then you have been decieved even further than I thought.

    I am not a big follower of Osteen, but I do listen to Copeland and Meyer and have read Hagin. I am sure there are preachers out there who have crossed the line into unbiblical territory. It happens. I know that Hagin himself before he passed wrote a defining work on prosperity called the Midas Touch addressing many of the issues about the “prosperity Gospel” and setting the record straight according to the Bible. I know that that book called for a change in waht some preachers were preaching and called people to come to the middle of the road and not get into a ditch on either side.

    I know that you lumping in all teachers of Biblical prosperity into this mischaracterization of the prosperity Gospel is an egregious misrepresentation of what is being taught by the teachers I listen to and read that get put in that category.

    I also know that many things coming from Piper and his followers are unbiblical and plain wrong, but I don’t for a second say that he has a gospel of hatred. Nor would I question his heart. I just think he has mistepped in his vehement opposition to the prosperity gospel, and his using the pulpit to preach strife within the body of Christ.

    Why aren’t you people attacking actual anti-Christ teachers like Quixote mentioned? Did you even look at what is being spread as “gospel” by that lady. It is alarming and truly anti-christ, something the entire body of Christ should come out against. I don’t get it. I don’t get the disdain and hate within the body of Christ for those who you disagree with.

    I think the Gospel is plain and I think most Christians are living well below the level that Christ intended for us. I wish Christians would stand up and take the authority delegated to us by Christ and use it in every area of our lives including our finances, marriages, relationships and health, but I am not going to defame those who don’t.

  78. Brett March 8, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

    “They pour tens of millions of dollars into outreaches that positively effect those in the U.S. and in the world. They are getting people saved, they are giving people hope in Jesus, but that isn’t ever discussed when they come up.”

    You’ve got to be kidding with this statement. Would you pour tens of millions of dollars into something in order to get HUNDREDS of millions of dollars in return? There is no sacrifice whatsoever to many of these people. They stay in the most luxurious hotels and resorts on the face of the earth and make millions off of one or 2 ‘crusades’ where a lot of people raise their hand or cry or life their hands to God, and you claim it as them being ‘saved’ (whatever that means) and then they are never followed up, never discipled, never contacted again. They leave their country and think their job is done. This was nothing but an ignorant statement, and even news specials have shown the faultiness and deceit in it.

  79. JNG March 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    Oh no, they stay in nice hotels? Well you have convinced me. They are really bad people with a heart for sin. And you say my statement is ignorant?

    The news has shown specials?? Well stop the presses folks. The unbiased news has reported on Christians and painted them in a bad light. We know that their credibility should never be questioned, and their objectivity is beyond reproach. Once again thank you so very much for showing me the error of my ways. I had not realized the all knowing and all mighty news had concluded that “prosperity gospel” ministers are faulty.

    Let me be clear, I am not defending all prosperity preachers whoever they may be. I can’t begin to know all who are lumped into this category. I don’t even think you who are doing the lumping know for sure who all you are lumping in. I do know that particular ministries those which I mentioned are doing things ethically. I also have ZERO problem with them accumulating wealth themselves. They are very open about how much money goes back into what they do. For instance Joyce Meyers ministry puts 82% back into direct outreaches programs. I do a lot of work with Non-profits and that number is staggering and more than admirable. I don’t care what hotel she stays at with numbers like that. If you have ever run a company for profit or a 501(c)3 you could not and would scoff at that, and you wouldn’t make truly ignorant statements about making 100’s of millions by giving 10’s of millions.

    So don’t talk to me about ignorance until you get some facts and not hateful rhetoric behind your arguments. You can blast them for their own prosperity if it satisfies your jealousy or “doctrine”, but don’t act like their ministries are not doing amazing things in this country and abroad. That is just a lie any way you slice it.

    All of these people have made great sacrifices for the Gospel. They didn’t just get wealthy over night. Many of them lived in extreme poverty for a period of time. They suffer persecution daily as exampled right here in this blog and from other men of God who do not uderstand them or agree with them, so don’t preach about what you do not know.

  80. Brett March 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    The ignorance in your comments proves your ignorance to the situation. You need to become familiar with the situation and their lives before our dialog goes any further. No person who is familiar with the commands and Gospel of Jesus Christ could make the statements that you make.

  81. JNG March 8, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    Brett,

    I am not even slightly surprised by your arrogance. You have stooped to attacking me personally because your argument got blown completely out of the water. In a time not so long ago I would have lashed back and been mean spirited as well, but I am trying diligently to emulate those who have taught me in the faith and walk in love. So with that I will simply say that I disagree.

  82. Brett March 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    LOL, JNG, I think I speak for all of when I say you are lashing back and being mean spirited.

    My argument got blown out of the water? You admitted that you didn’t even know these guys! You’re speaking out of arrogance and ignorance…your argument got blown out of the water my friend.

    Attack you personally? I said you have shown ignorance to the situation. What in the world are you talking about. No reasonable person would dialog with you after those statements…so keep fighting your non-winnable argument, but it will no longer involve dialog from me.

  83. JNG March 8, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    I didn’t admit I didn’t “know those guys”. I just made it clear that I was not speaking about ALL that get lumped into the “prosperity gospel” as it would be impossible to even identify everyone your side of this argument lumps into that category.

    I provided statistical evidence to back up my argument. You provided the unidentified “news story”.

    Your attitude towards me is very condescending. You claim I have ignorance of the siituation simply because you disagree with me. However, I clearly demonstrated that I am certainly aware of the situation as it pertains to particular “prosperity preachers”. Did you even read what I wrote? Then you went on to claim that I have no understanding of the commands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, again for the simple fact that we disagree. You don’t know me. I have posted on this Christian website maybe 5 or 6 times and you have jumped all over me because you disagree. I have to ask how do explain that if you are in fact obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ Himself to walk in love?

    I have nothing to prove, but I have been saved for over 23 years. I assure you I have a very good understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You stooping to attacking me personally and forgoing any discussion of the topic is case in point for my argument.

  84. Lucas Knisely March 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    JNG,

    No.

  85. Brett March 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    “I provided statistical evidence to back up my argument.”

    I got a kick out of that one guys. Have fun arguing back and forth more and more. He’s probably a big Osteen fan or something.

  86. JNG March 8, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    I noticed no one addressed Quixote’s post 72. I wonder why that is?

    Excellent post Quixote. That is Biblical prosperity and healing and it is what I have heard being preached from the “prosperity Gospel” teachers I listen to.

  87. Brett March 9, 2008 at 2:04 am #

    Luke 12:13-21 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

    Luke 16:19 – 16:31 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house– 28 for I have five brothers– that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

    Matthew 19:16-24 16 ¶ Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 ¶ Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Hebrews 13:5 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

    1 Timothy 6:9-11 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11 ¶ But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.

    James 5:1-3 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

    I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. I’m not saying or trying to communicate that we are supposed to be poor…I don’t think we are unless God so chooses. I think we are to be content with what we have. I think we are supposed to use our blessing to be a blessing to others. There are many, many, many other passages I could have quoted. The NT is extremely clear in regards to wealth. Being rich isn’t bad, but riches have a strong pull to make one corrupt and indulging oneself (like many prosperity folk do) in those riches are what is bad. The evidence is so strong against the message of many of these people that it’s amazing that some on here could defend them. “God wants you to be rich” “God wants you to have a promotion” “God wants you to have nice things”. I’m arguing vehemently that God does not want this of all of his followers, or all of his followers would be this way…I’m not, and I’m a follower of God. Some he so chooses to bless financially, and others he doesn’t. Some he wants to suffer many hardships for his name, and others he doesn’t so much. To make prosperity a universal principle for all followers of God is completely heretical and a complete lie….period.

  88. Lucas Knisely March 9, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    *ding*

    That marks the end of the round.

    Nice job, Brett.

  89. JNG March 9, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    None of that addressed what Quixote wrote, but it is a bunch of examples as to what our ATTITUDE about money should be. You just introduced the necessary balance into the issue of Biblical prosperity. Unfortunately like many you have fallen into a ditch on that particular side of the road. Of course I affirm that the LOVE OF money is sinful. One must be willing to die to self and give up what they have to follow Jesus. However, God our Father has made it plain and clear that if we do so and we put our trust in Him he will honor and reward us and that includes prosperity. That doesn’t mean everyone is called to live a lavish lifestyle, but God does not call anyone to poverty or debt. He will meet all our needs and He promises that we will reap what we sow.

    Galatians 3:13- 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

    The curse of the law includes poverty (Deut 28:15-45).

    1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

    Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

    You quoted Matthew 6 but you stopped before the last part.

    Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and ALL THESE THINGS shall be added unto you.

    We also have to look at our responsibility in all this. We have to take responsibility for our attitude, our giving and our faithfulness. If we are not faithful in little we can not be faithful in much. We also have to be diligent to work and be fruitful with what we have been provided. I do not believe that Biblical prosperity is about sitting at home claiming debt being paid off and money just raining down. We have to be diligent in our efforts.

    Deut 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

    Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

    Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

    I too could go on and on.

  90. Brett March 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    King James Version…As I would have expected!

    Thanks Lucas

  91. Phil March 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    Oh my. Really? That’s the level of discourse you want to resort to, Brett? Dismissing the guy’s post not on substance but on the bible translation he used? Really?

    Come on, guy. You’re better than that, aren’t you?

  92. Quixote March 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Brett:

    You hit the nail on the head when you said, “21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” BUT ARE NOT RICH TOWARD GOD. It seems that having money is fine as long we are also rich toward God. The same principle can be proved throughout the Bible, but Matthew 6 will suffice. There, Jesus told us we couldn’t serve both God and money. Of course, Jesus didn’t say we should HAVE (or want) money (the rest of the chapter proves that). No, we shouldn’t run after money and make it our all-consuming lord.

    But I think you know all that. At least you say you do in #87. In fact what you said is very telling: “Being rich isn’t bad…” You said it yourself, but then go on to contradict yourself by saying preachers sin when telling others that, “God wants you to be rich”… Tell me, Brett, if being rich isn’t bad (as you said) then why is it bad to say God wants you to be rich?? Just because the preacher says that GOD WANTS IT? That must be your reasoning. After all, you go on to talk about how God sometimes DOESN’T want SOME people to be rich. But that makes no sense. If being rich isn’t bad, then it must be good. And all good things are from God. And the Bible is clear that God doesn’t show favoritism or partiality. What He wants for one child of His, He wants for all.

    All of the people I’m about to list were RICH, but let’s just for a moment assume they merely had enough to meet their immediate needs and lend a hand to others.

    Abraham
    Joshua
    Joseph
    Moses
    David
    Solomon

    Okay, so all of these people were prosperous and provided for materially and physically under the Abrahamic covenant with God, but us Christians who are under a new and better and surer covenant are meant to do without. Or at least some of us are (according to you) and it’s up to God to decide who is blessed and who isn’t.

    My Bible tells me that God is kind and gives blessings to the wicked…HOW MUCH MORE does he give good things to His children who ask Him, who serve and obey Him?

    It makes NO SENSE that Abraham, Joshua, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon (and others) would have God’s immense blessing but those of us who are purchased by God’s own Son’s great sacrifice are doomed to suffer a worse fate. Puhlease. Give me life before Jesus then! But God forbid we say and believe such things. Jesus died to give us better promises…and all of God’s promises both old and new were complete and given a big fat “YES! SO BE IT!” in Jesus Christ. Now, THAT’S GOOD NEWS!

    Brett, in the end, I think your comment reveals something very poignant and important. I’m going by your own words here…

    You are not rich. Perhaps you don’t have nice things. Perhaps you wanted a promotion and didn’t get it. Perhaps you have suffered hardships. (I’m lumping all those things in together because you did in your comment.) And you are a follower of God.

    Therefore, for a preacher to say that all followers of God should have these things because God wants them to have them offends you. Why? Perhaps you are left to wonder if A) God just doesn’t want YOU to have them or B)perhaps you wonder if you’re really a follower of God after all. I mean, if what these preachers say is true, then you must be awfully confused by your current condition. Either that…OR…you conclude that the preachers must be lying and preaching a false gospel. Well, if I were you, I’d probably be tempted to conclude the latter as well. It’s must easier to believe and would make me feel much better about myself, also alleviating any personal responsibility for changing my condition.

    But just because our experience tells us one thing (albeit LOUD and CLEAR) doesn’t make it true. Only the Word of God is true, and I’ve yet to see you or Denny or Lucas use the Word and the Word alone to prove that God DOESN’T want His children to prosper and be in health even as their soul prospers.

    To Brett, Lucas, and others…
    Still, no one has addressed my #72 comment nor my earlier Oprah comment. I’m beginning to think you all just like to argue for arguing’s sake.

    To JNG…
    You may be a newcomer to the blog or maybe you’ve been reading awhile and are new to commenting. I can’t assume which you are (like other people tried to assume), but I will say this: some people on here just like to argue and stir the pot, so to speak. They admit as much. Don’t worry about them.

    In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that Brett and Lucas weren’t even speaking to each other (after long bouts of online shouting matches and cockfights). I’m tempted to look for flying pigs or a snowy hell after seeing that not only is Lucas back on Burk’s blog, but he and Brett are talking to EACH OTHER and actually in cahoots. Amamzing.

    Bottom line: if you came here for open-minded, articulate, intelligent discussion void of all juvenile remarks and off-topic distractions dressed up as debate, then you’re probably in the wrong place. And typically Denny will just post something and get the ball rolling but rarely jump into the discussion or moderate at all, so sometimes all you’re left with is drivel. Sorry.

  93. Quixote March 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    My bad: BIG typo in #92:

    I WROTE:

    “Of course, Jesus didn’t say we should HAVE (or want) money (the rest of the chapter proves that).”

    I MEANT: Of course, Jesus didn’t say that we SHOULDN’T (Jesus didn’t SAY WE should NOT) HAVE (or want) money (the rest of the chapter proves that).

  94. Brett March 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    I’m not dismissing his post b/c of it, I just said that’s what I expected. Big difference Phil

  95. Lucas Knisely March 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Quixote,

    You said: “In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that Brett and Lucas weren’t even speaking to each other (after long bouts of online shouting matches and cockfights).”

    Your continued lack of charity and kindness is so telling. I’m at a loss for words for how mean you guys get when someone just disagrees with your or shows your argument to be lacking.

    You and JNG are welcome to lie in this bed of baseless accusations and disrespectful resurfacing of past problems between Brett and myself. But how is that walking in love? You guys can’t seem to make an argument without passively attacking the person you are disagreeing with. It just amazes me.

    You said: “and I’ve yet to see you or Denny or Lucas use the Word and the Word alone to prove that God DOESN’T want His children to prosper and be in health even as their soul prospers.

    And time and time again you continue to miss the mark. And you still wonder why nobody addresses your comments. I’m baffled.

    I’ll try one more time, for your sake, and for the sake of anyone reading. NOBODY HAS SAID OR TRIED TO CLAIM THAT GOD DOESNT WANT HIS CHILDREN TO PROSPER OR HAVE NICE THINGS.

    Okay Quixote, after you’ve grasped what we are NOT talking about, maybe you can meet us on the playing field of discourse. Until then, you are welcome to attack a straw man argument that NOBODY has made, and also attack my character and reputation. All of which ultimately comes back on you.

  96. Brett March 9, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    Quixote,

    Your logic is extremely flawed. You said,

    “If being rich isn’t bad, then it must be good. And all good things are from God. And the Bible is clear that God doesn’t show favoritism or partiality. What He wants for one child of His, He wants for all.”

    Oh really? Where in the Bible can you find that? I see God giving people different gifts. I see God blessing some with more money than others. I see him calling Paul to show him how much he must suffer for his sake. Frankly, this is just bad hermeneutics. All followers of God aren’t rich, so how do you explain that? Also, many people who are rich are not followers of God, so how do you explain that?

    Also, I am not poor by the world’s standards. My needs are met and I am thankful to God. I don’t need a promotion because I don’t have a job (I’m a student in seminary). However, I consider myself very blessed, even though I live in an apartment and drive a ’95 Honda Passport. I frankly don’t think God cares or wants me to drive a ’07 Porsche, or live in a big mansion.

    I never said that God doesn’t want his children to not be in need. I said it’s not God’s desire for ALL his children to be millionaires, to live in mansions, to have the nicest stuff, to have the best jobs. Just look at God’s heart for the poor and oppressed throughout all of Scripture. The wealthy have great responsibility, and we fall short time and time again. We think if we only tithe (which gets us tax breaks) then we are doing our ‘Christian’ duty. I’m saying God demands 100%. All gifts we have are from him and him alone, and he can take them away in the blink of an eye.

    I suppose you’re the one to have an open-minded discussion? Come on man, don’t act like you don’t bring your own biases to the discussions. It’s evident in your speech. You probably are well-off and are trying to justify yourself being wealthy. I’m not condemning you for being wealthy (as long as it is not by unjust gain), what is grounds for condemnation is not sharing that wealth with the needy. That’s what the Bible decries, and therein lies the dangers of wealth. The Gospel is for the poor, and for us to turn it around and say the Gospel will make you financially rich is ludicrous.

    God does not bless us with money in order to buy the nicest stuff, drive the nicest car, live in the nicest house. Do you think he does? Do you think it’s justified if you made 1 million dollars a year to drive a $100,000 car and live in a $500,000 house? This is where I’m getting at. That’s why I respect John Piper (even though I don’t agree with much of his theology). He could be a multi-millionaire, but he lives a modest life. His needs are met and he is not greedy. He is still rich by the world’s standards, but he does not hoard his wealth and live in luxury.

    You’re totally misunderstanding my message. You think that I believe God doesn’t want anybody to be rich. I NEVER EVER said that. I’m saying God doesn’t desire for ALL of his children to be rich, or else they would be. Money corrupts, and you cannot serve 2 masters.

    You think because of the coming of Christ means that we are supposed to be rich? Give me a break man. This is anti-Gospel. There is no way you can get this from the NT. Your logic is completely faulty, “Well, in the OT these guys were rich, so how much richer should followers of Christ be?” Puhlease! Have you read what the NT says about riches, about suffering for Christ’s sake? How do you view sufferings? How do you understand the verse that says all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL suffer? Can you show me in the NT where it ever says that? You have yet to do so. I don’t define rich as simply having your needs met and having a little left over to help a couple of people. How do you even define rich?

    How much more does he give good things to his children who ask him? Well, what is a good thing? You elude to it being something material, something financial. Sorry bro, there’s a little more to it than that. Followers of Christ must lay up their treasure in heaven, not on earth. What part of that don’t you understand?

    You may be preaching a gospel with those statements, but it is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To quote a couple of Proverbs and give a couple of OT examples does not strengthen your argument one bit.

  97. Brett March 9, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    I’ve also never heard it from one of the health/wealth preacher’s mouths that God blesses us financially in order to be a blessing to others. What I hear is basically this, “God wants you to have the nicest things. He wants you to have lots of money. He wants you to have a promotion and live in a nice big house and drive a nice car.”

    But the ball stops there. It’s always for my benefit, me, my, mine alone. This is what is anti-Gospel. If God so chooses to bless me with millions, then he has given me a tremendous responsibility to care for the needy, to help those in need. To put it all in a Roth-IRA and store it up so I can retire at age 45 and live in luxury the rest of my life and leave a big fat inheritance for my children is anti-Gospel. It’s all in your attitude.

    God doesn’t bless us with money to take the most luxurious vacations, to live in big mansions, to drive hummers, or to be members at the nicest country clubs. Now, if God were to bless you with millions and he saw you giving your money and your life away to those in need, giving self-sacrificially to struggling churches or ministries, giving to the poor, helping poor people out with their education, supporting missionaries, etc, all the while living modestly so that you can do this, then you will have true reward in heaven. What do you think?

  98. JNG March 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    It is pretty clear that Lucas couldn’t find the “playing field of discourse” with a GPS unit and coordinates.

    Brett asbolutely claimed that God does not want ALL his children to prosper. The properity Gospel which you hate so much claims this very thing and you HATE it. You do more circling than a NASCAR driver at Bristol.

    Until you can address Jesus’ prosperity as laid forth in the Bible, the evidence of God’s wanting his children to prosper based on scripture laid forth, and the many examples provided by Quixote and myself then it is an excercise in futility to continue.

    Quixote, thanks for the thoughtul well laid out post, and thanks for the warning. I haven’t been around for long, but I certainly see what you are saying. This is more about the sake of the argument than anything else. Just argue and then cry foul when you are left with nothing to say.

  99. Brett March 9, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Yeah, JNG and Quixote have been completely biblical and objective while the rest of us have been unbiblical and subjective.

    JNG, what in the world are you talking about? You have yet to address any of my arguments and have grossly distorted mischaracterizations of what the rest of us are trying to say. Maybe it’s better if we just end this now.

  100. Paul March 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    I haven’t commented on this one for a while, but I do think that it is all too necessary to point something out here…

    besides the obvious problems with the prosperity gospel that Lucas, Brett and others so clearly see, there’s one other point that you’ll only really notice if you go to one of these churches:

    It’s all about you giving so that God can give to you. Now obviously, there’s a Biblical command to tithe, but these churches (at least the couple that I was at) take it to a whole new level. Tithing IN FRONT of the congregation (the connotations here are obvious, so I’ll spare you), mini-sermons about why you need to give until it hurts, and how you need to give to the church so that you don’t become a slave to mammon, etc, etc, etc. Meanwhile, the pastors of the church are driving Benzes and wearing hand stitched suits while the average member of the church is driving around an early 90’s Cavalier and wearing a tattered suit that should have been tossed at least a couple of years ago. I’ve seen it. And while these people are waiting for their blessings, they DO become a slave to mammon, waiting for God to bless them with their piece of the pie.

    In other words, I really do think that there’s an element of word/faith styled pastors that feed off of their congregations. And if there’s even one, that’s too many. It gives the church as a whole a bad name. We know what Paul says about those who would be a stumbling block unto God. Well, the worst of these churches are stumbling blocks in the extreme. Because of that, I’ll never knowingly step foot into another church that follows that path.

  101. Tristan March 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    It’s been a busy weekend for me, so I haven’t been able to comment, but I can see that the thread has digressed (on both sides). I’m not interested in taking part in this mud wrestling, but I will address one issue. Jng and Quixote keep patting themselves on the backs for post #72 as if it is irrefutable evidence that Jesus was rich. They keep wondering why no one will respond to this great list of “scriptural facts” (which, interestingly enough, contains no actual Scripture). I’ll tell you why I won’t respond to this list of “evidence”. It’s nonsense. The list is so filled with assumptions, eisegesis, and inconsistency that it’s not even worthy of acknowledging as biblical evidence. As an example, if someone were to post on here that they can prove biblically that UFOs visit the earth continually and provide a list of “scriptural facts” to support their claim, I wouldn’t respond to that either. Anyone who considers themselves even a semi-serious student of the Bible will be able to see the numerous misuses of the text.

    But I realize that if I were to just say that and move on, the love-fest would continue and you would give each other cyber high fives and say, “See, he couldn’t refute our weighty arguments.” So, in order to humor you, I will address one of your points in this list. For the sake of time and ease I will address the first point on the list:

    “1. As a child, Jesus received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

    As I sat among the HW&P preachers and teachers I heard this argument in differing forms. Many will say something to the effect that, “These gifts were so substantial that the monetary value could’ve sustained Jesus his whole life.” But this argument proves nothing. Why? Because in order for this argument to work you have to make all kinds of assumptions. What was the actual monetary value of the gifts? We don’t know. How much of each item did the kings give? We don’t know. What did Mary and Joseph do with the gifts? We don’t know. I could assume that Joseph and Mary, in keeping with their righteousness, gave the gifts to the lowly shepherds. I could also assume that Joseph and Mary left the gifts behind in their panicked rush to Egypt. But all of these would be assumptions. We don’t know how much it would’ve cost to immediately relocate to Egypt. We don’t know if the Magi gave huge amounts of each or tiny amounts. Using the argument that Jesus received these gifts as evidence of Him being prosperous proves nothing because all the Bible says is that the Kings presented the gifts to Him. It doesn’t even say that they kept the gifts. You have to make all kinds of assumptions in order to form any kind of argument out of this one point.

    But you have to ask yourselves, why is the Bible silent on the issue of the value of the gifts and what happened to them? Why don’t Luke, John, or Mark even mention these gifts that give us “evidence” of Christ’s prosperity. Because it doesn’t matter. To focus on how much these gifts are worth, you’re missing the forrest for the trees. The gifts are present in Matthew’s gospel for theological purposes. To show us that this baby born in a stall (a very unprosperous place to be born) was indeed a king. The prosperity teachers miss the theological importance of the gifts, so they can focus on the street value of gold. It’s very superficial.

    Needless to say, I could continue, but as I said before, the entire list is full of assumptions like this, and eisegesis. The arguments are so poor that it’s not worth it to even address in full. Unfortunately, I found this same sloppy use of the Bible running rampant in HW&P circles.

    Finally, I found this comment to be very telling:

    “It makes NO SENSE that Abraham, Joshua, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon (and others) would have God’s immense blessing but those of us who are purchased by God’s own Son’s great sacrifice are doomed to suffer a worse fate. Puhlease. Give me life before Jesus then!”

    What’s being said here is, “If Jesus doesn’t come with monetary success, then I don’t want Jesus.” I think this line of thinking is enough for people to realize the shallowness of a system of theology that elevates the gifts above the giver. This quote from Quioxte is exactly what Piper is addressing in the video above. Someone believes in Jesus BECAUSE they want the BMW, but if the BMW doesn’t come with Jesus, well, “Give me life before Jesus then!” Very telling.

  102. Brett March 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Amen Tristan,

    Thanks for taking the time to do that. I would have, but I feel the evidence is so strong and other’s mind are so closed that it would have been a waste of my time.

  103. Bryan L March 9, 2008 at 8:49 pm #

    Honestly I think both sides of this discussion are talking past each other and actually agree on a lot more than they realize. It seems like much of this boils down to semantics and each side is defining the terms the other side is using differently than they do.

    I believe part of this reason this is is because this has turned into a heated debate instead of an open discussion. Honestly whenever there is debate like this pride tends to have a big influence in the outcome and people no longer hear each other or try to understand what each side is saying.

    One example is that lately Quixote post at #72 has been brought up and argued against. But when you read his last 3 major paragraphs I can’t see how or why you would disagree with what he says especially in it’s relation to his 10 points. And despite Tristan’s observation that no scripture was quoted I think anyone would be hard pressed to show that any of the 10 points are not scriptural. Although the implications of those scriptural facts might be debated I don’t think you can really deny that the 10 points are in fact true (although I wonder what Q was referring to in #9). And despite Tristan’s claim (sorry Tristan I’m not picking on you) that Q is saying that the 10 points prove Jesus was rich, Q never says that but instead says that Jesus was “prosperous” but according to a particular definition of prosperous.

    Again I think this shows that there really is a lot of talking past each other or just misunderstanding of each side in general.

    I imagine if y’all tried to simplify this and talk about it more openly y’all would find out how much you actually agree on instead of disagree on.

    So why don’t y’all take a breather and try to figure out a way to find some common ground? Ok?

    Blessings and Prosperity, ; )
    Bryan L

  104. Tristan March 9, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    Sheesh. Okay, if it’s really necessary. In the following phrase:

    “Jng and Quixote keep patting themselves on the backs for post #72 as if it is irrefutable evidence that Jesus was rich.”

    Strike the word “rich” and insert “marked by success or economic well-being”.

  105. mike March 9, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    Tristan,
    Thank you for post 101. I too have been away for the weekend and was shocked that there hadnt been a response to post 72.

    Jng and Quixote,
    Im anxious to hear you explain away this quote from Jesus:
    “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
    …and please do not tell me that Jesus was speaking metaphorically.

    Fellas, as you have done with Scripture, you have also misinterpreted C.S. Lewis as well as Piper. The mudpuddles are not the absence of gifts and the holiday is not the presence of gifts. Both Lewis and Piper are saying that the true Treasure is Christ; the Giver and not the gift should be “worshipped”.

    Quixote,
    “We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

    One of the most important things I ever read on my pilgrimage toward Christian Hedonism was from a sermon preached by C. S. Lewis in 1941. He said,

    If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

    That’s it! The enemy of worship is not that our desire for pleasure is too strong but too weak! We have settled for a home, a family, a few friends, a job, a television, a m microwave oven, an occasional night out, a yearly vacation, and perhaps a new personal computer. We have accustomed ourselves to such meager, short-lived pleasures that our capacity for joy has shriveled. And so our worship has shriveled. Many can scarcely imagine what is meant by “a holiday at the sea”-worshiping the living God!” -John Piper

  106. mike March 9, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

    Hey Brett,

    Dont get me wrong. I am on your side on this discussion but…were you proof texting on #87? 😉

  107. Jesica March 10, 2008 at 12:27 am #

    I think God hit it out of the park on that one, and Pastor Piper had the great honor of being His voice to a nation that needs to hear this truth.

  108. JNG March 10, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    Bryan,

    I think you are correct. Thanks for the perspective.

    Just to be clear. I want Jesus no matter what. I don’t want what He has to offer me in the way of material blessing. I want Him and have surrendered to Him and WHATEVER he calls me to do.

    I do however think Jesus wants me to be blessed, and I think he wants all His children to be blessed, and that includes financial freedom. That certianly has nothing to do with a BMW and I have never, not once, heard a so called “prosperity preacher” mention such. At least not the ones I listen to. I know there are many in the grouping of “prosperity preacher” and I am sure some have made errors in their teaching. Which of course goes back to defining what exactly the message is and who is preaching it.

    I guess it would be like me going around saying I HATE the POOR GOSPEL. The gospel of being Poor. You can’t follow Jesus and have nice things. He doesn’t want you to have anything good because having wealth will cause you to stumble and if you have wealth you have already stumbled….

    By the way most of the prosperity preachers that I listen too spend very little time on actual monetary or material things.

  109. Brett March 10, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    Quixote,

    Could you please address Tristan and myself and the issues we brought up with your previous post? The reason I ask is because you seemingly brought up some pretty serious and dangerous things and I would like to hear your rationale after our rebuttal. Thank you.

  110. JNG March 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    I can’t speak for Quixote, but why in the world would he feel an obligation to address your questions when you haven’t even tried to rationally address his?

    Mike

    “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

    It has already been explained. Jesus had a house. A house big enough to receive guests. The passage there is refering to a time when he was not accepted in a samaritan village and therefor had no place to rest his head. Just glance up a few verses in your Bible 52 and 53 I believe.

    Now would you like to address all the other facts of Jesus properity like the fact that he in fact had a treasurer that could pilfer money without being noticed, that the disciples gave to the poor, that his garments were so fine that the roman soldiers gambled for them etc.. All of this is backed up by scripture and none of it requires implication or a jump to conclusion as Tristan argued.

  111. Brett March 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    JNG,

    I have addressed his and yours. What is your problem anyways? Just because some people disagree with you and try to make a case against your belief you call them irrational? Give me a break man, don’t act like you’ve conducted yourself rationally on here. Quixote just said a couple of things that were very serious, and I want to make sure that we’re understanding him correctly. Do you have a problem with this?

    Also, you’re dead wrong about the “prosperity of Jesus”. “Prosperity” in the sense that it’s used with the preachers we’re speaking of basically means millionaire. Driving BMW’s, living in mansions, traveling the world, etc. Was Jesus poor? I don’t think so, I never, ever said he was. Was he prosperous in the sense of how we use the term? BY NO MEANS! Just because Romans gambled for his clothes or he had somebody keep some money for him (which is only mentioned one time so it’s evidently not extremely important in the context of his ministry) does not mean he was “prosperous” or “rich”. He was not in need. His needs were met. The occupation of him and his father would elude to them being middle to low class. So, they weren’t poor, but they weren’t rich or prosperous either. You happy?

  112. Tristan March 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Jng,
    If you’re going to claim that something is “backed up by Scripture” please identify the Scripture your referring to so everyone knows what specifically you are referring to.

    Now as to this statement:

    “All of this is backed up by scripture and none of it requires implication or a jump to conclusion as Tristan argued.”

    Allow me to show you the assumptions you have to make. Again, I will just take one point from the list to show that your entire statement above is false.

    1. “the fact that he in fact had a treasurer that could pilfer money without being noticed”

    I am assuming this is a reference to John 12:6.

    ASSUMPTION: The money in the treasury was all Jesus’. We don’t know this. In fact, it is more than likely, that just as in the book of Acts they had “all things in common” meaning they would have pooled their resources together. So, the money in the treasury would prove nothing about Jesus’ prosperity, but of the group as a whole. However, that assumes what the bag of money is for and how much money was in the bag. Which brings us to…

    ASSUMPTION: We know what the bag of money was for. Judas asks Jesus why the perfume was not given “for the poor”. This could imply that the bag of money Judas had was intended to give away to the poor, not as personal expenses or living costs. We don’t know what the money was for or whose money it was.

    ASSUMPTION: There was a lot of money in the bag. The passage never says this. It says Judas was stealing money from the bag, but it doesn’t say that there is a lot of money or a little bit of money. If you steal a quarter from a bag with .50 cents in it, it is still stealing. And finally….

    ASSUMPTION: “without being noticed” This statement assumes that other people would have access to the bag or would know how much was or wasn’t in it. “Noticed” by who? If Judas was the only one who had the bag of money he could take as little or as much as he wanted to and no one would notice. This statement assumes that other people have anything to do with the money at all. It very well could have been that Judas made every financial decision, even down to purchases, so that no one else would even have a chance to “notice” anything. Judas could’ve controlled all money coming in and going out. Again, if Judas had a bag of .50 cents and he stole a quarter and Jesus told Judas to give all the money in the bag to the poor, then Judas would give the poor a quarter and no one would be the wiser, because no one knows what’s in the bag in the first place.

    Finally, another passage where you miss the point. The point of the passage is that Judas was a thief. Did he steal a lot or a little? We don’t know, but he was a thief. Did Jesus have a lot to steal from? We don’t know. Did anyone else have any idea how much was going in or coming out of the bag? We don’t know. Why? Because that’s not the point of the passage. Your forming an argument by forcing your beliefs into a text that isn’t trying to prove your beliefs.

  113. JNG March 10, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    Brett,

    You are wrong. From the very beginning you have called me ignorant, my opinion ignorant, you have “LOL” at my comments, and have told me I have no understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please do not try to correct on being rational and take the moral high ground.

    You claim a lot of things about these prosperity preachers but I wonder if you ever even listen to them. I listen to Copeland almost daily, I listen to Meyer at least weekly, I read approx. one Hagin book a month, and I have never heard this type of preaching from them. Not in those specifics. Not in those amounts. So I am at a loss for where you are getting your information and for the venom in your comments. If you want to talk specifics then you need to name specific teachers otherwise I can’t speak to it and I made is clear as possible that those arguments ARE NOT what I am defending.

    You have not addressed Jesus’ prosperity, you dimissed my NT and OT scriptural references to back up my argument, you dismissed my knowlege of and statistical evidence of a particular prosperity preachers ministry, so no you HAVE NOT addressed my arguments. I specifically addressed your scriptural references and spoke to exactly what my interpretation of those scriptures were. So again, do not act like you are taking the high ground and seeking truth or answers. It is a silly bait game with no end but further argument.

    Tristan,

    I am so sorry that you would go to those lengths to prove your point and make more assumptions about assumptions having to be made than I thought humanly possible. If you actually want me to buy the argument that it was not all Jesus money, fine it was the ministries money. If you want me to buy that we don’t know what the money was for I would argue we do. We know it was for the ministries support as we know Jesus had a group of supporters and we also know it was for giving to the poor. For you to even try to argue that it is a possibility that the treasury was not of substantial means is silly at best and dishonest at worst. There is no reason to have a treasurer if the it was just small sums and if it was of such a little amount then surely Jesus would not “waste” the very expensive perfume. You see you are the twisting the scripture to fit your argument because your are dead set on proving Jesus was of little means. When Quixote gave ample examples that are in the Bible that refute that premise.

    So please, don’t just take one thing and twist it, do it with all of them. Please argue yourself silly that Jesus doesn’t want you prosperous. At this point I just feel sorry for you. I am happy and content in my belief system and what Jesus has done for me. His grace and mercy have been overwhelmingly enough, but the fact that he has provided for my well being, my victory in my relationships, finances, and health are just a sweet bonus in the awesome work that He did for me. I won’t poor mouth my God who has provided so much, and I will continue to share with others what is attainable in the victorous life of a Christian following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  114. mike March 10, 2008 at 3:20 pm #

    JNG,
    Why would Jesus want me to be prosperous?
    What is the gain?
    Am I going to be more happy with who He is if I am healthy and wealthy?
    What would you do if you lost your home, your job, your retirement, your savings, everything?
    Would you desire God more than you did when you had all of your temporal blessings?

  115. Tristan March 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    Jng,

    “I am so sorry that you would go to those lengths to prove your point and make more assumptions about assumptions having to be made than I thought humanly possible.”

    Sorry, perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough for you. When i was making assumptions I was doing just that. They are assumptions, nothing more. I was merely showing you what the Bible does and doesn’t say. We can’t assume there was a lot in the bag of money and we can’t assume there was a little. Why? The Bible doesn’t tell us. In all of my points I provided counter-assumptions to prove that just because you assume one thing doesn’t mean that the assumptions can’t be made the other direction.

    “If you want me to buy that we don’t know what the money was for I would argue we do. We know it was for the ministries support as we know Jesus had a group of supporters and we also know it was for giving to the poor.”

    You can get all of that from the phrase “the bag of money”? Do you know if any of the individuals carried any money of their own? No. Do you know if the money in the bag was used to buy food? No. All you know is it is a bag of money. You have to assume the rest.

    “For you to even try to argue that it is a possibility that the treasury was not of substantial means is silly at best and dishonest at worst. There is no reason to have a treasurer if the it was just small sums”

    So, let me get this straight. The reason we know there is a lot of money is because Judas was a treasurer? So, every organization or church or individual that has a treasurer has a substantial amount of money? I went to a church that could barely afford to keep the lights on and eventually had to close the doors on one site and move to another, but they had a treasurer. Again, we don’t even know what money Judas was responsible for. (Just so you know, the following is an assumption) It very well could have been that Judas just controlled the money given to the poor and we are never told that they gave a lot, we are just told that they gave. It’s “silly” to assume that just because Judas had a money bag we know there was a lot of money in it. Your argument also assumes that Judas was a “treasurer” when all the passage says is that he was the “keeper of the money bag”. The word “treasurer” may have implications in our society that don’t necessarily translate to Jesus’ time and culture. All we know is that he kept the money bag. I don’t have any idea how much was or wasn’t in it and neither do you. You do yourself a disservice when you claim to know more than what the text says.

    “if it was of such a little amount then surely Jesus would not ‘waste’ the very expensive perfume. ”

    Ironically, you do a good job here summarizing Judas’ same question. For an answer to your question (or statement) see Jesus’ response in John 12:7-8.

    “At this point I just feel sorry for you. I am happy and content in my belief system and what Jesus has done for me.”

    Thank you. I appreciate the condescension. The issue though isn’t whether or not you are “happy and content”. The issue is whether your belief system is biblical.

    Ultimately, I’m not arguing that Jesus was poor. I don’t think the Bible provides us enough evidence to prove that He was poor or prosperous. Why? It’s not the intent when it comes to the life of Jesus. It simply tells us what He did with the money He had and what He tells others to do with money. It doesn’t tell us that He had a little or a lot of money. If having money is important to you then of course you will try to squeeze it into Jesus’ life any way you can. But then your left with the position to defend (i.e. Jesus was rich/prosperous) and given what you have cited as “evidence” it is indefensible unless you make several assumptions.

  116. JNG March 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    Here is why my basis is not assumption. Because I am taking into account all of the different points made by Quixote, which are all scriptural.

    From post 72:

    1. As a child, Jesus received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

    2. Jesus had many partners who faithfully and consistently supported His ministry financially.

    3. The Bible indicates that Jesus had a house or residence.

    4. When it was necessary, God’s miraculous power operated through Jesus to see that His needs and the needs of others were met.

    5. The Bible indicates that Jesus’ ministry assisted the poor financially on a regular basis.

    6. Jesus had enough funds to require a treasurer, and enough that when the treasurer embezzled money from time to time, it wasn’t immediately noticed.

    7. Jesus distinguished Himself from the poor.

    8. Jesus was not the least bit bothered when perfume worth a year’s salary was used to anoint him.

    9. The testimony of Jesus’ own disciples at the end of His earthly ministry was that they never lacked anything.

    10. When Jesus was crucified, His clothes were nice enough that the Roman soldiers gambled for them.

    All of these points are found in scripture, and you can feel free to look them up. I have neither the time nor inclination to do it for you. Others have affirmed the validity of their existence. No assumptions are needed. Of course you can take one case and dismiss it as assumption to point to it alone as a case for Jesus properity, but when taken as a whole it begins to paint a picture. The Bible really has a great way of doing that.

  117. Brett March 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    We’re going in circles here JNG. You’re not understanding our points and have closed your mind to any discussion.

  118. JNG March 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Brett why is it that everyone on the other side is the one that has closed their mind? You may want to spend some time thinking about that.

  119. Paul March 10, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    JNG,

    at best, you’re defending some very dangerous theology.

    at worst, you’re defending out and out heresy.

    Jesus had money. Of course He did. Did you think God was going to let His OWN SON live in abject poverty?

    Jesus still never told people that if you give to the church that you WILL have a shiny car and have absolutely no money woes whatsoever. The most He said is that God will take care of your every need. That every need means a roof over your head, food in your belly, and hopefully a soft pillow at night. NOT a BMW, NOT a nice house in the suburbs, and NOT a life with no pain. THAT’S what many of these “pastors” are promising, and the results of that are going to be seen as a major turning away from the church in the coming decade or two. Mark my words.

  120. Brett March 10, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Amen Paul

  121. JNG March 10, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    “Jesus had money. Of course He did. Did you think God was going to let His OWN SON live in abject poverty?”

    No and as a son of God, a joint heir, part of the body of Christ, I don’t think he wants me to live in poverty. Nor do I think He wants any of his sons to live in poverty. Thank you for so succintly making my point.

  122. Paul March 10, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    want you to live in poverty? maybe not, unless your best place to be a witness to the glory of God is as one of the unwashed masses.

    will let you live in poverty? why not? The vast majority of the world (and by proxy, the vast majority of Christians) lives in poverty. What makes you or the people in your church so special?

  123. Bryan L March 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    Paul,
    Your last question is one that I have been asking but in a different direction since it can go either way. I’ll just quote what I said earlier back in #74:

    “Again I think the main question that comes to my mind is this: If you are living the average middle class life and you feel you are particularly blessed by God and attribute your good fortune to God, what do you tell someone who is poor or who lives in a 3rd world country?

    Do you tell them they are not blessed by God? Do you tell them they stay that way because God doesn’t want them to have more? Do you tell them it has nothing to do with God and more about hard work or being in the right place at the right time and who you know? Do you tell them God does not want to bless them enough to rise above the poverty level? How do you tell them to pray and what kind of answers do you give them when their situation does not change? Do you tell them it might or tell them to have hope and faith that it will?

    If you believe that God blesses us so that we will bless others would it be appropriate to say that God wants to bless us but the fault lies with his people who don’t want to give any of their blessings to others?”

    I’m not looking to get back into this debate as I don’t think it is going anywhere but I hope someone will answer my questions (or at least the main gist of them).

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  124. Tristan March 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    Bryan,
    I really did mean to answer your questions before a long and busy weekend because I think they’re good questions. Unfortunately, one thing lead to another and it got lost in the amidst the chaosm, and admittedly I forgot. I’ll do the best I can, but am sure I’ll fail in many regards.

    “what do you tell someone who is poor or who lives in a 3rd world country?”

    First off, I want to make it clear that I will not try to know the mind of God. I don’t know why He chooses to bless some and not others. I don’t why we in America have so very much and our brothers and sisters around the world struggle to get by day to day. Just as I don’t know why some people are born with disabilties they struggle with every day and others live healthy lives. I think God, in His wisdom, knows the answers to these questions, but I do not. So, I will not assume an answer that is woefully ineffecient (like “God wants to bless us but not you for x reason”).

    That being said, part of my response to that individual is going to vary in a great deal on my relationship to them. If it is a very casual relationship (e.g., talking on a plane) I would start with prayer. I would tell them that I would pray (and idealy mean it) for them and I would tell them to do the same for themselves. That perhaps God would hear their prayers and have mercy on them. I would point them to the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8 and let them see that believers can be faithful and experience true joy even in the midst of “extreme poverty”. I would tell them that they can trust in the Lord to provide them with all they need to accomplish His will whether that be great or small. And ultimately I would assure them that the grace of our Lord is sufficient no matter what the circumstance in life.

    However, if my relationship is more than casual, I don’t just say these things. I would follow them up with knowing what way I can support them. Either financially or through teaching them a trade or any other means. I would make it clear that whereas I am not sure wht God has blessed me I will make every attempt to provide for them through the blessing God has given me. I think if we are truely going to help our brothers and sisters this oftentimes means more than just handing them cash. And this is where I would try to assist them in the way that would be most beneficial to them. I would do everything in my power to make sure they were taken care of. I certainly wouldn’t tell them that God wants them to be prosperous and then ask them to tithe to my ministry. And I wouldn’t tell them the reason they are in poverty is because they don’t have enough faith or they haven’t learned the right prayer strategy yet.

    As to prayer, I would tell them to pray that God provide for their needs and that they be content in His provision. Again, I refuse to pretend to know the mind of God, so I wouldn’t tell them to expect any specific answer. If a woman faithfully prays for a healthy child and God answers that prayer with a child that has severe handicaps I would never search for an explanation of why God answered her prayers in that way. The Lord knows. I do not. But I do believe His grace is sufficient. I would tell them to pray like crazy and do what they can, but to never, never assume that just because they may suffer it makes them any less of a Christian or in possession of anything less than the true Gospel.

    “If you believe that God blesses us so that we will bless others would it be appropriate to say that God wants to bless us but the fault lies with his people who don’t want to give any of their blessings to others?”

    I’m not quite sure about the phrase “God WANTS to bless us” because I don’t really know what that means. I would instead say “God HAS blessed us, for whatever reason”. But with that little addition I would whole heartedly agree with that statement. I think the New Testament makes it clear that Christians are to care for each other. It is our responsibility (those who have been blessed) to make sure that our brothers and sisters don’t live in poverty. This means virtually every American believer. I think God would want us to experience the joy of the Macedonians, who despite their extreme poverty (very unprosperous Christians) gave willing to their brothers and sisters in need. They did this instead of sitting on what little money they had, and doing it all in the name of “prosperity”. It’s because of this, that I don’t necessarily view money as a blessing, but more as a responsibility. It’s easy to look at the American church and say God has blessed us, but it (I’m just throwing this out there – not speaking for God) very well could be that our wealth is a hardship given to us by God. Because God will judge us for the deads done in the flesh whether good or evil and when we sit on our riches and claim God wants us prosperous while our brothers and sisters die of starvation worldwide that is a great evil. And don’t get me wrong. The HW&P churches make a theology out of doing this, but the entire American church is easily just as guilty. There’s a reason Jesus says what he does about the rich man entering the kingdom of heaven.

  125. Bryan L March 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    Thanks Tristan for your thoughtful answers.

    I guess my next question then would be is it ok to then separate advice to people who are poor or living in 3rd world countries on how to become prosperous and rise above their situation and separate it from the Gospel?

    Would it be ok to teach prosperity in a general way but just separate from anything having to do with God (so that we’re not saying God wants you to be prosperous but just this is how you can prosper and rise above where you are at)?

    I bring this up because there are some people who believe that things like counseling must have a particular Christian perspective to it, and there are some who believe self-help must have a particular Christian perspective to it (which becomes more than self help but you get the idea), and business must have a particular Christian perspective to it, and parenting (and discipling) must have a particular Christian perspective to it, and schooling must have particular perspective, and dieting, and finances, and music and movies, and literature, and marriage and sex, and leisure and so on and so on.

    They believe that really every area and corner of our lives must be done in a particularly Christians and Biblical way and some even get upset when they are not.

    So what about prosperity? I mean no one here has said that prosperity is bad in and of itself or that we shouldn’t want to be prosperous but it’s only the motives that have been questioned and judged. And some even say yes it is a blessing (not counting those who are specifically arguing for that).

    So is seeking prosperity a specifically non Christian thing that should not be connected with God or Biblical principals but is ok to teach and learn on its own? Or should Christians also be taught what Godly prosperity is and what the proper motives behind seeking it are and methods to go about seeking prosperity and how to best deal with prosperity in ways that are honoring to God?

    Thanks and if you don’t get around to answering the questions (or the main gist of them) because of your schedule then thanks for your last response.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  126. Quixote March 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    I just want to point out the problem *I* have with “prosperity preachers” today, since that seems to be the point of this post and comment thread.

    My problem with “prosperity preachers” (whatever that term means) is this: when they talk about money, they spend most of their pulpit time talking about HOW TO GET MONEY.

    The facts are these (I’m not going to list all the biblical proofs, because I’m just too busy. Ya’ll are seminary students; find them yourselves.): Jesus talked more about money than just about any other subject. And hardly EVER did He teach HOW TO GET IT. Why do you think that is? Instead, Jesus spent the majority of His time teaching us what to do with money, what our attitudes about money should be, and the dangers/blessings of having money. Why do you think this is?

    Because Jesus was a Jewish man. He knew the Law and the Prophets. He was quite familiar with the Abrahamic covenant. He operated from the understood truth that God’s people (those who love, honor, obey, and serve God) ARE blessed. ARE prosperous. HAVE money. [Unless you think that all the blessings of Abraham and all the blessings listed in Deuteronomy and all that talk about the materials used to build the tabernacle and temple are allegorical, metaphorical, and figurative.] AND Jesus knew His audience. Jew speaking to Jew, those who also knew the law and prophets and the blessings of Abraham. They were Abraham’s descendants, after all. No need to tell THEM that YES! God wants you blessed! YES! God will supply all your needs (something Paul had to tell the Gentiles). YES! Obedience brings a blessing! The Jews already know this, and are the richer (any way you want to define the term) for it.

    So YES we preachers miss it today when we spend so much time teaching people how to make money when we should be teaching people how to love, honor, obey, and serve God. Then we could do what Jesus did, and spend our time teaching godly ways to view and spend the money we would surely have.

    No need to refute me because I’m through arguing on this blog; I just wanted to take MY turn sharing what irks me about preachers.

  127. Brett March 10, 2008 at 10:43 pm #

    Quixote,

    Why haven’t you said this all along? I AGREE WITH YOU. Of course, I might nuance things a little different and clearly define a few terms, but for the most part we agree. There has been some major miscommunication going on (though I certainly do have issues with your previous post before this one).

  128. JNG March 11, 2008 at 8:29 am #

    Quixote,

    Excellent post, I agree, Brett agrees, looks like a great place to leave this one.

  129. Tristan March 11, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    Of course you have to understand the implications of what Quixote is saying. Those “who love, honor, obey, and serve God” reside predominantly in the West. This sort of mindset that assumes that God works with His church the same exact way He worked with Israel (the same mindset that led the Catholic church in crusades, and the Puritans to find the “promise land”) leads you to have to assume that our brothers and sisters around the world don’t “love, honor, obey, and serve God”. That we here in America and Europe are the only really faithful Christians, Because Quixote is clearly saying that if they did those things and were faithful they wouldn’t have to worry about money, they would already have it. I can’t swallow a theology that elevates the American (or Western) church as the ideal for the rest of the world to live by, just because we have a lot of stuff. It really shows how ethnocentric this theology is. But it’s not surprising. We’re talking about a theology that was developed in 20th century America, for Americans, by Americans. Therefore they’re only left with this implication, that when they go overseas they must tell people to “love, honor, obey, and serve God” like Americans and they WILL BE blessed like Americans.

  130. Bryan L March 11, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    Tristan if Q was clearly saying all that why didn’t he clearly say it?

    I got blasted for talking about the implications of what Piper was saying in his video, so how is it fair to go around and do the same with Q? Especially when you seem to be the only one who clearly heard all of that?

    Are you just looking for a fight and to keep this going??

  131. Lucas Knisely March 11, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Tristan is actually on to something. I don’t think it is fair to say that it all comes from Quixote’s comment, but I do think it points to the underlying foundation of prosperity preaching.

  132. Tristan March 11, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    I’m not looking for a fight. But I’m also not going to praise a theology that holds up the Western church as those who “love, honor, obey, and serve God”, just because we have money.

    “we should be teaching people how to love, honor, obey, and serve God. Then we could do what Jesus did, and spend our time teaching godly ways to view and spend the money we would surely have.”

    If people who ““love, honor, obey, and serve God” “surely have” money then what does this tell us about our brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t have money? That’s an honest question.

    When I told you that you misrepresented Piper I didn’t just leave it there. I tried to show you how you did so. If I have misrepresented Quixote’s position then show me how and I will apologize. I’m not against being corrected.

    I apologize if I come across as brash. I’m not trying to be. It wasn’t but nine years ago that I would’ve been arguing the same position as jng and Q, but I realized that in order to do so required a lot of assumptions (biblical and otherwise) I wasn’t willing to make. And I also saw the serious harm this theology often caused for those who tried to live up to these standards of “prosperity”.

  133. Bryan L March 11, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    I’ll be honest I would Tristan, but I think this discussion no matter what is said will just continue going in circles. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good discussion even some friendly debate but there’s just too much emotion and hard feelings and memories (not to mention mostly anecdotal evidence) in this for people to talk with any real clarity and openness.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  134. Tristan March 11, 2008 at 9:33 pm #

    Quixote,
    I just ran across this and thought you might find it interesting, since you brought it up earlier. It looks like there are some believers out there battling Oprah and her “gospel”. None other than Chuck Norris himself. Check out his own words:

    http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57827

    I just read through it quickly, but it seems pretty solid. Who knew?

  135. JNG March 12, 2008 at 8:10 am #

    Tristan,

    Thanks for the heads up on that article. Pretty good read. Glad to see someone stepping up to speak out against Oprah and her brand of spiritualism.

    What I saw there isn’t even the worst of what she has been promoting recently. She has another author and “spiritual” guru promoting a series called “A Course in Miracles”. It is extremely dangerous and scary stuff. What is even scarier is the many people buying into it. A quick look at the discussion forum on her website would grieve any true God fearing/loving Christian.

    It is these issues I wish the body of Christ could unite against and speak out against, instead of arguing amongst ourselves about doctrines.

    Yes I am guilty too and not pointing fingers.

  136. Matt September 2, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    This video is so absent of truth! He feels hatred? That’s not a very christian attitude. A child dying on the street? Yes you feel pain but the context is off, so completely off. Yes God is enough you bet yes you should praise God even through loss. But God is not most glorified in our loss, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” That does not imply loss these are situational contexts. Prosperity is all throughout the Bible and guess what, it glorifies God when it comes from his hand. There is not any hatred about Job when he has so much wealth and loses it but doesn’t curse God and God blesses him with many times more than he had. Is that hatred? That’s God’s hand!
    Saying America suffering is a good thing? Are you kidding? You want your own country to suffer, what with economic depression? What you deny the gifts and blessing God has bestowed upon our Nation? No your liberal ideology is what’s destroying our country. Have you every tried slapping God on the wrist? I don’t recommend it lets not slap him in the face either. “gee God thank you for blessing you gave our country but i’d rather suffer so I don’t accept your gifts.” Great preaching there i just hope you remember the Lord says you are responsible for every person you mislead.

  137. Joey August 8, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I do believe God’s will for christians to partake Christ’s suffering. But, many people misinterpreted it. Does it gives God glory when someone is sick, physically and emotionally pain? No it’s not! The suffering Paul and Peter was talking about is none of these things. The suffering that we all partake is all spiritual. Another thing, you will not find it’s God’s will for us to be in poverty and in debts. The bible explained clearly that we have inherited the blessing of Abraham. Sadly most christian don’t seek his out in his word concerning the Blessing of God. What does the blessing does for us in this life as a believer?

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