Monday, 7 March 2016
I do not intend to dig very deep into many Bible passages today to confirm that "Health and wealth" theology is fundamentally wrong. What I intend to do is just to draw our attention to a few things that are happening around us and compare them with a few happenings in the Bible and ask us to continue to pray for the church.
As we speak, Christians are going through persecutions all over the world especially in China and many Islamic nations. Even nations which are not necessarily Islamic are experiencing a huge increase of Moslem attacks on Christians. Just look at this report on Uganda and notice the number of Christians that have been attacked and killed. Remember it was in Uganda that Bishop Umar Mulinde, a 37 year old sheikh turned gospel preacher was attacked with acid after a preaching engagement. We issued the prayer alert here. Thank God that Pastor Mulinde survived but never the same physiologically but still strong in the spirit.
In China, there is a revival of attacks on Christians. Many pastors and church members are being arrested and put in prison without any court process. Crosses and worship centers are being destroyed. One significant thing is that even the so-called approved churches, the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC), are not left out this time around. Amazingly, the church has grown from about one million in 1966 to about one hundred million strong at the beginning of the 21st century.
In Nigeria, almost on a weekly basis, a major attack is carried out on Christians and perceived Christian communities either by the dreaded Boko Haram or the Fulani Herdsmen. Christians that stand on righteousness are discriminated against,in some cases are oppressed where they cannot help themselves.
All these seem to agree with the Bible passages "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2 Tim 3:12; "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 2 Tim 2:11-12; "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33NIV. The Book of Acts is filled with stories of how the church grew in the midst of attacks and persecution. We are encouraged to pray, identify and support those who are subjected to suffering due to persecution.
Now how do all these agree with the prevalent preaching that if you are a Christian, everything will be working for you; you will not suffer; you will become rich and wealthy; you will not get sick; any enemy that stands in your way will die etc etc? Is this not the reason why there is no difference anymore between us and the world? As Christians many of us compromise everywhere because we do not want to suffer any inconvenience and want to remain in the same boat with our peers and friends. We do not want to offend anybody so that we are not called names. We care less about the persecuted brethren and often think that it's their fault. Most church leaders accumulate wealth, caught in the competition web, and become so rich that you wonder whether they have the desire to go to heaven; yet so rich in the midst of very poor brethren who are being encouraged all the time to continue to contribute for the welfare of the church leaders. One of the tests for correct interpretation of Scriptures is that the application of such interpretation can cut across cultures. For example, a correct interpretation of a Scriptural passage cannot mean a different thing to a Christian in America and a different thing to a persecuted brother in Uganda. Even though cultures are different, ways of application may differ, but basically, the passage means the same thing. Anytime a Scriptural passage is interpreted in different ways, there are only two possibilities, either one is wrong or both are wrong. Definitely both cannot be right.
Let us begin to bring our churches back to the Bible. Pray for pastors and teachers of God's Word for boldness and sincerity in teaching the truth. Pray that emphasis on faithfulness may come back to the church. Pray for revival in our churches, that we may experience the move of God in our time. God bless you.