Sunday, January 1, 2017

Abundance and Heart

Here is the article in the Huffington Post on Paula White Praying at the Inauguration:

I would like to add my thoughts to the conversation; but first, let me explain both a bit about Paula White's theology and my personal context. 

At one point in my life, I was a follower of the “Name-it-claim-it” theology of Kenneth Copeland. I saw Creflo Dollar when he was just starting out and I have been to a “Believer’s Convention” in the 80’s. I have watched a significant amount of Paula White’s shows on “Day Star” TV in 2006.

I believe that the heart of this theology is an idea that people can manipulate  God to change their situation.  There are bits of pop-psychology mixed in with The Power of Positive thinking of Norman Vincent Peal, along with a lot of misappropriation of biblical passages. Honestly, there are things preached that do motivate people to try harder and work better, which could be perceived as God helping. In the end these ideas tends to lead to an Old Testament (see Deuteronomy)  type belief in a godly reward/retribution system.

Christianity may have some complicated worship systems; Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox come to mind, but those systems are grounded on a grace-based theology which worships a God who cannot be bribed and will forgive anyone who will ask. There have been a thousand years of arguments and critical thinking on the problem of evil, attributes of the Godhead and philosophy of religion; this along with pastoral counseling for the laity over suffering, loss and death. Pastors are not supposed to fleece their flock.

Now what I have observed in “Name-It-Claim-it” theology is believing that you begin to deserve certain things if you start to give your proper tithe (however that is calculated) and then you “trust” God for future “blessings” when you give a certain amount based on the idea of a “hundred-fold” return (or harvest) from God.

The verses referenced were actually talking about how well persons would receive and act on Jesus’ words…you know, feed the hungry, heal the sick, help the poor…stuff like that.

But when you have people accustomed to taking financial risks (Like Trump) listening to a charismatic leader (like Paula White) telling them that because you have “stuff” it is a sign of God’s favor. Can you see now why someone like Trump would be drawn to another pretty blond woman who says things that resonate with his own idea of high-risk, investment/venture capital money making schemes.

It is tragic that people will become so deluded to believe that God really wants people to have mansions, planes (etc) on the proverbial “Widow’s Mite.”

I am stunned that there are evangelical believers and leaders who still think Trump is a Christian. Maybe he is; I cannot see his heart. But Jesus also said that “...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (see both Mat. 12:34, Luke 6:45)

I’ll leave that decision to other smart people to discern.

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