Thursday, November 10, 2011

It Could End Badly

What you just watched is a sermon clip from Matt Chandler.  He is a pastor just down the road from my church and the father of a boy that is friends with my twins.  I can't be sure when this event took place but Matt is one that would KNOW this concept to be completely true having suffered through brain cancer for the past several years.

Whether we meet with suffering because of the cause of Christ or because its just how the world works...the fact is, it comes.  But we as Christians often exercise the erroneous thinking that we SHOULD be exempt somehow. 

"God is good, I am His, give me Mine (blessings, health, etc.)." 

These things are true.  God is indeed good, as reborn followers of are His, and you will be blessed because of it.  However, I am here to completely contradict the Prosperity Preaching of Joel Osteen and others of his ilk.

You are NOT guaranteed health, wealth, and security! In fact God may choose to "bless you" with an illness or maybe even job loss.  As counter-intuitive as that may sound, I guarantee that you will learn more, grow more, and draw closer to Him and those around you when the storms of life come than when you are comfortably getting by. 

Preaching anything else is not only directly refuted in Scripture but its dangerous and damaging.  There is nothing worse I can think of than telling sick, hurting, desperate people that true Christians don't suffer such things!  If they do belong to Christ, they begin doubting their faith.  If they don't belong to Christ, you are enticing them with the WRONG "good news".


Craig V said...

I hoping the clip is not conclusive to the context of the whole message ...?

I don't find what I heard sitting right in my mind. I believe trusting in God, putting Him first, will NEVER "end badly" - it is all for the greater will.

It's a bit reckless to imply John felt abandoned by Christ - if John did feel abandoned we'd might never have had his "seven letters to seven churches". John's death happened in such a way to make him a martyr and help explode Christ's message as the disciples were out spreading the Good News. I find the message as I heard as "the wrong good news". I would think Matt just put a B load of doubt in some folks' minds.

I don't see Joel Osteen so much as a prosperity preacher (as I use too) as much as a positive motivational Christian speaker. The fact is the fat shepherds are the wrath of God upon the people that follow them to soothe their itchy ears, giving them cause to excuse turning from God.

Let us correct the thinking that materialistic prosperity for accepting Christ as our Lord comes automatically - We still must maintain a enduring Faith and bare fruit exemplifying that Faith. Sure, there's too much focus on the SELF in Christendom today. I don't believe the issue is so much of exemption as it is entitlement. Nothing wrong with a little prosperity.

Let us remember God will disciplines us according to our need. Sometimes we need our noses down in the garbage to learn the smell of the stench, vividly, when God decides it's time to pull us out of the dumpster! Been there, done that - that worldly stench turns my stomach, like when I smell cigarette smoke since kicking that garbage monkey.

As for your bottomline Jim, I agree.

I maintain - God first - ALWAYS!

Note: Josephus wrote -"...of this daughter of Herodias, that going over the ice in winter, the ice broke, and she slipt in up to her neck, which was cut through by the sharpness of the ice. God requiring her head (says Dr. Whitby) for that of the Baptist; which, if true, was a remarkable providence." (Source - Biblical commentary of Matthew Henry)

1 Peter 2:15-16
For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves.

...Always love that Scripture!

Jim said...

Keyword in the title of this post is "could". I don't think Matt was trying to make his audience conclude that blessings, prosperity, and sail boats were an impossibility if they are truly Christians. I think he, like me, wants people to change that entitlement thinking and realize that it rains on us and the unbelilevers alike.

The BIG difference is we can be molded, shaped, taught, and matured in the process of the refining. So there is a certain purpose (just in the case of John's beheading) that goes to serve the Kingdom at large.

Craig V said...

I was thinking more about this -
I'm with you on your thinking on "expecting automatic prosperity" by just accepting Christ - Enduring faith takes work and that's reflected in works. "could" END badly is still stretch of an error in my mind.


Factual e.g. :
"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." I Corinthians 10:13
(note this speaks to emotional and spiritual loads, which I believe physical pain can bring on just as readily)

Inspirational e.g. :
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalms 27:1

There's never a doubt in my mind things for a person of enduring Faith will go exceptionally well - I've seen it - I've experienced it! I am at peace and experience a greater understanding because of my steadfast faith in the Lord and I can attest things change for the better.

God never puts such a weight on us that we can not handle it when trusting in Him - including physical pain - and I say that having endured some pretty painful DAYS my self, not just moments.

I perceived the message of the clip was that believing in Christ as Lord you could suffer 'greatly' ...and die. I believe Matt is in error - in his message and how he presented it (in this clip).

I believe Matt twists the story of John the Baptist's death to support his eisegetical thinking. I'm pretty sure I can build a strong case to support that John did NOT sit in prison in a man-centered pool of pity. I believe John may have been more blessed in knowledge and understanding than the Apostles. This was man who prophesied Christ coming (he had dedicated his adult life to it) , who first declared upon seeing Him that Jesus was THE Messiah and from which in baptizing Him signified the start of Jesus' ministry, and fulfillment of God's promise. John was a man who chose to go to prison rather than deny Christ! Does that sound like a man who saw his situation as "ending badly" or doubting God? Sounds like a man who saw his life as ending gloriously!

We're all gonna die some day and I can only pray my death is a swift and painless as was John's. Even if Matt made the point not to expect prosperity from accepting Christ in his presentation, the message in the clip was a bad message to send and a bad way to do it.

Not pointing finger - just offering a point of view here. I have to wonder how many times Matt reviewed his presentation before sharing it publicly. No disrespect to Matt - but many evangelicals, even church pastors and leaders, are getting up and just try too hard to do something Jesus Christ made so easy to do. Yea, it's that nasty man-centered thinking messing 'em all up.

If a speaker can not provide a sound exegesis for his thinking, than his thinking is in question and not yet worth considering. And when we as discerning Christians come across eisegetical preaching we should be able to discern the BS - Bad Scripture, from the good.

I recommend James R. White's book "Pulpit Crimes" for a good exegetical look at the state of the Christian pulpit today.

Jim said...

I know Matt from a distance. He is not my pastor but we have several good friends in common. I also know a bit about him from having his son and my twins in the same Pre K class for a few years. From those indicators I can confidently say that Matt is an excellent Pastor and the more likely problem here is the clip's editing. Had we seen the entire message, my bet is he probably hit it home as usual!

That said, I also believe that Matt understands John to have the correct perspective about the jail sentence and the beheading. But not everyone else from the outside looking in would see it that way. I got the impression that for Matt...this would not necessarily be good marketing material to encourage the non-believer into becoming a Christian. I think he ended this clip tongue in cheek, understanding the humorous dichotomy it presents for those that don't have John's mature perspective.