I have to admit, sometimes it is entertaining to listen to televangelists. Whether it’s Joel Osteen’s “All Gain No Pain” Christianity, or T.D. Jakes brand of “name it and claim it,” the television is literally stirring with pastors who are ready to tell you that you can have everything you have ever wanted, you just have to give your life to “Jeeeeezus-ah.” I distinctly remember watching an episode of “This Is Your Day” with Benny Hinn and laughing myself senseless as he managed to smack people to the ground, all the while declaring that God is against sickness and death and poverty.
Welcome to “Americanity”. I call it that because it is a sick, twisted amalgamation of the “American Dream” mixed with the Christian faith. In the faith that is Americanity, we love to get, give to get, pray to get, go to church to get, worship to get…. well, you get the idea. While this has been a hallmark of the “Word of Faith” movement, the attitude has permeated throughout American culture, as well. I can’t tell you the number of times that personal wealth and monetary gain has been looked at by members of the Body of Christ as a sign that this person walks with God. I distinctly remember being involved in a church life group where, in conversation with the group leaders, it was mentioned that another couple would be great for leading a life group “because they have a big, nice house.”
Too often we, as Americans, connect our spiritual life with our material life. By that, I mean that we assume material blessings reflect a spiritual blessing in the church. We cannot comprehend the idea that God would deliver the curse of poverty or poor health on those who are close to God. Over the next few posts, I will be talking about the downfalls of this concept, and what it is doing to the church today.