Monday, November 19, 2007

So We Visited One of Those Prosperity Mega Churches This Weekend

I've never heard the words 'blessing' and 'hallelujah' used so much in one sermon. To be fair, someone who used to go to this church said that it was just like an Antioch church (were we used to go to church when we lived in Wac0), and Antioch is pretty big, so we were hopeful that it wasn't a typical mega-church. That person was wrong about this church being like an Antioch church. Way off.

I'm no expert on prosperity Gospel stuff. I've always known that I generally disagree with it. And the the whole mega-church mentality.

As we enter into this massive building, we are pretty shocked by the amount of money that went into decorating the main hall. Neon signs, fancy stuff everywhere, tiled Baptismal pit (complete with free robes, towels, hair dryer, and heated water - we were told), and the stereo-typical coffee shop were all there. I took a quick glance at the prices in the coffee shop and decided to save some money and go to Starbucks later.

Anyway, to be honest - they did preach the Gospel, repentance of sins, and the need to die to self. But that seemed to be the sub-points in the main point of God blessing you with finances and happiness if you are faithful. It was the message given right before the offering that made us squirm.

Is there a new type of prosperity Gospel coming out now-a-days? There was a lot of true scripture being presented in there, but it was all sandwiched in with all kinds of "God is going to give you a lot of money and happiness" stuff in there. Like, A LOT of it. Should I really worry about the fact that they were all quoting scriptures correctly, but just over quoting ones about blessing, and kind of missing the whole point of what blessing means in the Bible?

I think many people would say not to judge and not to worry as long as the Gospel was presented. And to be honest, all churches are imperfect. Just having something wrong with your theology does not mean that the spirit of God will not be present and move in your midst. if that was true, He would never visit any churches.

But I gotta say - Katie and I couldn't find the exit door fast enough. Which is durn hard when you've got to fight past a thousand people making a B-line for the coffee shop.

I make light of the coffee shop a lot - but am I the only one that gets uncomfortable about the whole "den of thieves" thing? And when the pastor and his wife are wearing outfits that probably cost more than my entire wardrobe.... weird.

I gotta also ask about this whole "baptized in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the speaking in tongues as seen in Acts 2:2-4." Acts 2:2-4 describes tongues of fire coming to rest on the believers - visible tongues of fire. Shouldn't it be "baptized in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by a visible tongue of fire and the speaking in tongues as seen in Acts 2:2-4"? Of course, I guess that means that most people wouldn't be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And that corrected statement doesn't roll off the tongue as easily....


Matt C. said...

I guess I wasn't too off with this stuff. This entry pretty much describes what I heard:

Wikipedia: Prosperity Gospel

The interesting thing - someone on the staff at the church I visited is a close relative of Joel Osteen.

Something that also came to mind. When God offered young King Solomon anything he wanted, Solomon choose wisdom to rightly judge what God had placed in his care (the kingdom). God said that it was good that he choose that over riches or the heads of his enemy. I think too many people focus on what God did specifically for Solomon after he chose rightly, and not on what God said was good in that scripture. Just a thought.

Bird said...

Good point on tongues. The idea of salvific tongues has always baffled me.