First, let me acknowledge that the word hate has already turned some of you off. I get it. It’s because we’ve been taught, even by our churches, that there are good emotions and bad emotions. Anger and hatred are bad emotions. Love and joy are good emotions. Not true. Emotions are right or wrong based on their congruence with a situation. If my wife says to me, “Honey, I love you”, and I feel anger – that would be an improper emotion. If, on the other hand, I walked by someone strangling a puppy and felt joy, that would be an improper, sick emotion (unless it was a Chihuahua, which isn’t really a puppy, it’s a rodent).
So please understand my hatred is, I believe, congruous with the situation – with the damage caused by the prosperity gospel and the threat posed by the prosperity gospel. Moreover, my hatred for this false gospel is born out my love. What? That’s right, anger and hatred are the flipside of love. If I love kids, I hate child abuse. If I love justice, I hate injustice. If I love the gospel, I’ll hate perversions of it. If I love the church, I’ll hate false teachings that weaken it. If I love people, I’ll hate lies that threaten to rob them of true joy and even to shipwreck their souls. If I love the glory of God in Christ Jesus, I’ll hate anything that diminishes that glory.
So there I’ve just given you my outline for the next few posts. Before I end this one, I do want to make one comment. Anger and hatred aren’t the only emotions I feel regarding this gospel. When I heard that the most prominent health and wealth preacher grabs an audience of 73 million people per week, I cried. Literally. When I heard that that message is being sent via radio, tv and the world wide web to over 100 countries, I sobbed. When I heard that the Senator Grassley of Iowa was calling for an investigation of several televangelists and their use of the tax codes and their personal gain from their ministries, I honestly didn’t know what to feel. When I see that this is the brand of Christianity that is winning the day around the world, I get so discouraged I want to retreat from anything and everything that is weighty and of eternal significance and hide out with video games, comic books, fantasy football and a cold beer. But, I can’t.
I thank God that I have the wonderful opportunity to work with so many great saints who haven’t been duped. They are a source of encouragement and great joy, and they are one source of God’s grace in my life that keeps me from overwhelming depression.