I have come across some odd sayings in my day. But more than odd, they were controversial sayings, but delivered palatably, with even with a hint that it should be accepted. Except when I heard it, I may have had the advantage of my knowledge over others in the crowd.
The controversies were told at church, but if one knows their Bible quite literally, as I do, you would think twice about the saying. You would recognize it as controversial and that it did not quite fit the evidence of the Bible. Maybe they were aiming for mass and consumer acceptance, but I sat there dismayed. Waiting for someone to correct. So here it is. The fallacies that appeared from time to time on my journeys. How do I reply…
“Jesus died to make you wealthy“
Anyone who can see that Jesus died would have a hard time believing that he died to make us money. It just does not make sense. For the curiously uncommitted it would be titillating: from the death of a man you can make money. I mean has capitalism come to this? That Jesus will give us an inheritance as he was knocked off for the will?
As gruesome as it was, it had to be. Measure for measure. God takes sin seriously and deals with it seriously. Being wealthy or getting money is not the point of Jesus’ death. There is nothing in the New Testament of the Bible that says you will get financial reward from Jesus death, sorry about that. However, you can receive his Spirit, which has nothing to do with money, but is from heaven, a wonderful gift for those who believe.
Jesus says the Spirit is described as a comforter, a helper, a counsellor, and Paul teaches the Spirit produces qualities in our lives such as love and patience.
“Prosperity is promised in the Bible. It’s in there.”
Or the Bible knows better than you. So, let me go to the Bible to find out. Is prosperity promised in the Bible? And if so, I am doing something wrong?
In the Old Testament, God only promises prosperity to his people who obey his law but there is not a New Testament requirement to be prosperous. God instead blesses and these are often ‘spiritual blessings’ and can be more general blessings. The blessings of Abraham were promised and prophesized to the Christian before the law in the Old Testament was given. There is no law required for such promises.
“You just need a belief in God. Don’t worry about it.”
This is cool Christianity as if that is a new, fresh religion. Be cool. It is all right.
In good old Christianity, faith is more. Faith is a response to Jesus and his goodness and how we will live our lives with Jesus in it.
“Once saved, always saved.”
As was quoted, “You can fornicate three thousand times and still be saved.” Maybe if you’re in jail.
Keeping on sinning is like living in jail. We are not meant for jail. Jail is like a place of bondage to sin. But Jesus sets a Christian free. Not to indulge sinful passions, but to serve one another. God’s grace liberates us not be slaves of sin but to want to serve and follow Jesus.
Once saved always saved says you can lose your faith in Jesus, you may keep on sinning, and still go to heaven. In the New Testament, it is not once saved always saved. It is about staying faithful to Jesus. Not once a faith and I’m okay and can live like hell.
Faith in Jesus is continual, not a once off thing.
Faith is about being faithful.
“Hope is a positive expectation of good.”
Thinking hopeful thoughts is a change of your mindset in other words. You can be transformed by your mind. Prosperity language again.
But hope does not imagine what reality or the future should be like. Hope is present now, not what will be tomorrow. Hope can be God’s activity alive in someone’s heart, now.
“Jesus was created.”
I baulked at hearing this. Could not believe my ears.
The New Testament says Jesus is the Son of God but does not say anywhere that Jesus was created by God. In the New Testament, God is three persons of essence one; The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.
Apart from one moment on the cross when Jesus cries, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me”, Jesus was in communion with God the Father throughout his life. He was one with the Father.
The communion is unbroken even when Jesus was on earth.
I have had some trouble with these sayings, but I believe I have answered them here. It is important to test what a preacher says in comparison to the Christian’s book, the Bible. One flawed teaching can mislead one, two, or a whole congregation. Call it misinformation.
By Peter Veugelaers.