[note: all names of people, except me, have been changed to arbitrary letters of the alphabet.]
one of my friends took this test on facebook: "which church in iwon'ttellyouwhichcountry are you best suited in?" and her result was "This Church". i made a comment on that test result, and the following conversation ensued:
Sieh Jin Kiew at 6:27pm July 7
hmm... some people say that "This Church" preaches health and wealth gospel, a feel-good version of the Truth...
i'm not saying they are wrong or anything, just saying be careful and always exercise discernment, ok. =)
Mr. A at 7:39pm July 7
Jesus heals the sicks... that is health. Jesus multiplies 2 fishes and 5 loaves... that is wealth! He is the same yesterday, today and forever... hmm good discernment!!!! Amen!
Ms. B at 7:42pm July 7
AMEN PASTOR! :D
Sieh Jin Kiew at 11:24am July 8
Yes, Jesus heals the sick. when He was on earth, He healed every sick person who came to Him - there is no record of Him ever refusing to heal someone.
yet, after He ascended to Heaven, although His disciples continued to heal (and yes, i do believe that the gift of healing is still active in the church today), the incidence of healing was no longer 100%. see how Paul told timothy to take a little wine for his stomach and his frequent illnesses in Timothy 5:23. or see how Epaphroditus was sick and almost died, in Philippians 2:25. why not just heal them, if we were able to heal at all times and in all cases?
so the fact is that, in spite of the purest faith and the most fervent prayers, God does not always heal instantly. we may not understand why one is healed and another is not, but it is something we have to deal with. yet this is a fact that one almost never hears from the lips of those who preach the health and wealth gospel.
Sieh Jin Kiew at 11:34am July 8
and yes, God can prosper us if He chooses. Promotion comes from the Lord (Psalm 75:6-7). yet reading Jesus' words, "you cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24), and His reply to the rich young ruler, "go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21) and paul's words in 1 Timothy 6:10, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil"...
all these verses show us that there is something wrong with the kind of gospel that can blithely proclaim that all God wants to do is to bless and prosper you.
God does not want to make us happy - He wants to make us holy. and that means struggle, sacrifice, disappointments, dying to self, and etc... not the hollow promises of health and wealth that some churches peddle.
once again, a disclaimer - i do not say that "This Church" is one of these. just that this kind of teaching is becoming prevalent among some churches, and we would do well to be careful and practice discernment. =)
Mr. A at 12:20pm July 8
2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Father, whatever promises that he doesn't want, please give to me and I say, " Amen!" to Your glory...
Ms. B at 12:36pm July 8
I want also.. Amen!
Sieh Jin Kiew at 12:43pm July 8
lol... i do not deny, and neither do i reject, the promises of God. so, Mr. A and Ms. B, if you're hoping God will give you my "rejected blessings", too bad, they're all mine! =D
but... here's a promise (or is it a warning?) that ties in with what i was trying to say earlier... "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4
one thing that makes the health and wealth gospel so dangerous, is that it's exactly what we want to hear. we must not 'censor out' the difficult, hard, challenging parts of the gospel. ok? =)
there's more, but i think that's sufficient to convey the concern or caution that i was trying to communicate to them.
i'd be glad to interact further with you on this matter if you have questions or objections; just drop a comment here. i do not deny that some pastors can be very charismatic and persuasive, and there may be no discernible error in their sermons - but i am afraid that they may be preaching only half the truth without error: the nice, encouraging, happy, blessings-and-prosperity half.
what do you think?
[p.s. the East Coast Regional Trip went well, in spite of some screw-ups on my end. thanks for supporting us in prayer. =)]