American Modern Approach To Christianity (Pentecostalism)
WORD OF FAITH
The American modern approach to Christianity since the late 19th century actually introduced the gospel to the entire world from a new dimension. The prosperity gospel started in the late 19th century in the United States of America. Prosperity gospel also known as the “word of faith” movement is about well-being and prosperity.
This doctrine says the key to health and wealth acquisition is right thinking, visualizing, and speaking the right words. The movement renounces slavery, poverty, and defeat. It exercises the power of faith against fear in regard to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Founding fathers of this initiative were: 1. Ralph Waldo (1803 – 1882) 2. Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993) 3. E.W Kenyon (1867 – 1948).
E.W Kenyon said – faith talks in the language of God. Doubt talks in the language man. Speak the right words to bring a new reality; what you confess, you possess. He was a writer and a preacher with exceptional inspirations.
Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, William M. Branham, TL Osborn, A.A. Allen and others – actually continued from where he stopped. Though the exploits of these preachers mentioned here – cannot be easily forgotten by the Pentecostal-world, E.W Kenyon is still regarded everywhere as the father of all.
Frankly speaking, word of faith brought some positive change to numerous lives. In Africa alone, legions of thousands were liberated from the shackles of poverty in the 70s and 80s – when the movement went everywhere like wildfire during B.A. Idahosa. But today the case is different – the whole thing is now doing us (Pentecostals) more harm than good.
Pentecostalism is going through crisis of which many converts are ignorant. At this present time, salvation is seriously under attack in church; and faith is being reduced to intellectualism on the one hand, and materialism on the other.
Movement that was meant to be a blessing to folks worldwide; is now a stumbling block that makes many church leaders derail from solid scriptural theology – to vain human ideologies. We have more preachers today who have positioned their hearts toward only earthly vanities. What went wrong?
The wide-spread hunger for wealth, caused by today’s church, cannot be satisfied in the next five centuries.
The fact is, most church goers don’t agree Satan is highly intellectual but he is; and he is wiser than the greatest scientist of all centuries (Ezekiel 28:12-19).
Angels are spirits – invisible beings, God made them wiser than human. God made them closer to His own nature. Lucifer was an angel of God, though he fell – his power and intellect were not taken from him; and he is capable of influencing the most learned minds among men (1Chronicles 21:1).
The enemy is in the business of capturing the best of intellects since the ancient Greece period. Satan knows how to use the language of the Bible to express errors that could be so deadly to faith. Through science of the mind and modernism, he has successfully offered some senseless theories that rob God of His glory, and many church goers of their salvation.
E.W Kenyon resisted Christian Science in his time; he made great impact in his days through word of faith. But somehow metaphysics and other lies of the devil still find its way to Pentecostalism after him. It’s obvious the church can’t really keep Satan under feet with only word of faith. We need the whole gospel of Jesus Christ to subdue the enemy in church.
Presently in Christian book stores, there are many Bible brands everywhere from different denominations – different Versions and different interpretations. Please, keep the old King James Version closer to yourself child of God – Satan also know scriptures (Matthew 4:6).
The danger of having only prosperity gospel in church, involves: lack of contentment, greediness, pride, envy, selfishness, covetousness, and materialism – that is now skyrocketing everywhere in church. Many unrepentant souls are turning preachers everywhere; their aim is ambition not salvation.
Gospel basically is about the teachings of Jesus Christ; His life, death, and resurrection. Gospel leads people to repentance and restitution. It stirs hunger/thirst after righteousness from the inward being; and leads to spiritual growth and general prosperity in individual’s life.
The gospel of Jesus Christ comprises: teachings about God’s kingdom, repentance, restitution, forgiveness, selflessness, contentment, sobriety, grace, and prosperity etc. The Bible is not against prosperity but, it is strictly against prodigality and materialism – excess regard for earthly vanities (Matthew 6:19-20).
God loves to see His children prosper and be in health; but expects us to walk in the truth, in the light of His word (3John 2-3). In Christianity, eternal glory is top priority not vanities of this life (Revelation 21:1-7).
The main focus of “word of faith” from inception is health and wealth. This doctrine doesn’t emphasize holiness enough because it is half-gospel. We need the whole gospel of Christ to survive in this last hour – not half-gospel. We need more than the prosperity theology to overcome end-time strategies of anti-Christ in today’s church – Satan is in church. We need the whole gospel of Jesus Christ to survive.
I hear people say, some preachers are called to preach faith & prosperity – while some are called to preach only holiness. This is not true; no man is called by God to focus on one aspect of the gospel. No preacher is called to preach only grace & prosperity.
Paul didn’t preach half-gospel; he preached the whole gospel warning every man about the wrath of God, and also about the inevitable end of this material world. The early apostles were not selective about what they preached. They preached everything as led by the Spirit of God to fulfill purpose and accomplish the mind of Christ.
Heaven also expects today’s church to do likewise. Christ expects us to embrace the whole gospel and preach everything - not withholding one word. It is high time we confront this ugly and destructive spirit (materialism) that threatens the credibility of today’s church. If we don’t address it now, it can only get worse. Christ didn’t give birth to a proud church – He gave birth to a sober church. The pride in today’s church is too much.
Christ followers should recognize Satan’s attempt to minimize salvation in church through modernism and materialism, and therefore should guard themselves with fundamental doctrines. Matthew chapter 5, 6, & 7, actually defined the Christian life & true Christian living.
Many converts have heard so much about how to acquire wealth and attain success in this life. They were not taught how to place their salvation above ambition. They were not taught how to avoid being enslaved by mammon (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
The scripture clearly reveals that mammon is a spirit (Matthew 6:24). Mammon happens to be god of this sinful world and it has strong influence over many lives. Mammon is an enemy of righteousness. It actually kills, destroys, and intoxicates people everywhere including many converts in today’s church.
Without money, survival in this modern world could be so unbearable, but submitting to the influence of mammon is more devastating and more painful.
The poor should be diligent and pray for financial blessings… but should not forget to keep mammon under feet when wealth comes. Wealthy converts should ask for grace that would enable them keep mammon under control, in other not to end up as slaves to their own wealth. Mammon is not a friend of any man; it is an enemy of righteousness. The influence of mammon in today’s church is very strong.
Mammon is a prince among many converts in churches. Many converts glory in their wealth and underrate the strategies of the prince of this world and wouldn’t heed to the Lord’s warning concerning serving two masters.
Wealth is not evil, but mammon, if not subdued and kept under control by faith may hinder the Christian from receiving the crown of life and eternal reward. This is the aspect most converts are not informed by their motivational speakers and prosperity preachers; though some converts already know this truth.
To be sincere, poverty is not a good thing, it’s horrible, but submitting to the influence of mammon is worst than poverty inherited.
The scripture is not against money and wealth but, the improper and slavery attitude of men towards money and material possessions of this sinful world.
The “great commission” is not earthly business; it is a heavenly business. (Luke 2:49). Our profit is not material but spiritual and goes to God. Proper integration and harmonization of the gospel depopulates hell and expand God’s kingdom on earth (Proverbs 11:30).
I know Christ did great miracles and said His church shall do greater signs (John 14:12). But His works didn’t just end with signs and wonders… everything ended with salvation of humankind. Miracle without salvation is non-profitable to church. It is non- profitable to Christ and His church – Satan also works miracles everywhere.
I also understand prosperity is our inheritance in Christ Jesus; no one can deny us that. But the Bible says eternal glory is more precious than the temporal comforts of this life (Matthew 6:21).
Many African Pentecostals – especially youths, believe if the Christian is not wealthy he is not blessed. Others believe if prayers are not answered or ambition actualized – God does not love them enough. Going back to promote the fundamentals of true Christianity can go a long way in correcting these deadly errors. Embracing the whole gospel, not just word of faith, is the right thing to do in this last hour. Let’s not present God’s love in a way that the Biblical doctrine of His wrath makes no sense and fades into irrelevance.
When church repents of corruption, society and state may improve – think about this. Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and be trodden under foot of men (Matthew 5:13).
The teaching of God’s kingdom and divine grace (Gospel) as distinguished from Moses’ law, directs every convert towards the narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-27).
If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear (1Peter 4:18)?
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