I had the pleasure of joining a group of people on Friday that included a Christian man from Ghana. He loves Jesus and he holds tightly to the promises of God in ways that are beautiful and humbling. He has been evangelizing, mentoring and teaching for years in Western Africa, including in some very dangerous places.
Last year he lost his daughter to an illness of some kind, a beautiful 21-year-old young woman about to finish college. He and his wife suffered greatly. The response from some of the Christian ‘leaders’ he knows made me sick: ‘confess your sins to me and she will be made well’ or ‘I have received a prophetic word that God has heard your prayers and she will leave the hospital.’ So little compassion, so much presumption, and so little Bible.
Yet, he knows that God is sovereign and good.
In fact, he spent most of the time talking about the dangerous advance of the health, wealth and prosperity gospel. Too many ‘pastors’ are selling God as little more than a robot programmed to respond to certain actions: if you need money, give the church more money and it will be returned to you in blessing; if you experience sickness, it is your fault because you don’t have enough faith, or you have unconfessed sin, or you have not been generous enough with your church.
No talk of the suffering Jesus told us to expect. No talk of Jesus being of greater treasure than all earthly goods. No mention of seeking God above all things. No hope in future grace.
We spoke a bit about disability and the news was the same: it is presented as God’s curse and families are given a terrible, hopeless picture of God. There is no talk among the prosperity preachers about disability serving a greater purpose for the glory of God and the benefit of his church. There is no trusting in the Word where God takes full responsibility for disability in this present age.
Yet, this man stands on promises and clings to Jesus and talks of God’s mercy and grace and peace even in the hardest of circumstances, like the death of his much-loved daughter. I want to be like him.
And I want the cruel, inhumane, unbiblical, Satanic prosperity gospel to go away, forever. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!