Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ouch Mr. Hart, that Hurt

DG Hart posted his Old Life blog today:

"Reformed Protestants are generally dismissive (or worse) of prosperity gospels. They know, at least intuitively, that suffering is part of the Christian life and that calculating God’s favor on the basis of material well being is not good theology...And yet, when Reformed Protestants pray, or at least when they make prayer requests, our desires generally run along the lines of Joel Osteen. Which sort of upends Benjamin Warfield’s remark that every Christian on his knees is a good Calvinist. His point that when praying every believer is acknowledging the sovereignty of God. But he didn’t ask what believers were praying for and whether it conformed to God’s revealed will. We pray for surgeries, broken ankles, test results, catastrophe survivors, and the unemployed. None of these concerns are of themselves illegitimate. Jesus does tell his disciples not to worry about their physical needs, not because they are unimportant but because if God provides for the lilies of the field then he’s likely to care even more for his children. And yet, that passage in Matthew 6 concludes with the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God and then all these other things will be added"

Oh, that chaps my cheeks - but probably because there's more than a grain of truth in it.

"....by my count only one of the six petitions [of the Lord's prayer] has to do with material needs – “give us this day our daily bread.” The others concern God (his glory, church, and will) and man’s sin (forgiveness, and temptation). By my math that works out to roughly 17 percent of our prayers being devoted to physical needs. And yet, when we listen or read the requests for prayer in most congregations, the percentage tilts almost in the exact opposite direction, with God and sin receiving about 17 percent of our requests."

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