As a Christian, I hear so much about money, prosperity, and health. I sorrow for the poor and the sick, but I also worry about the health of the modern church. I had assumed that certain common Christian terms would return some major counts from Google Adwords. I was wrong. Two of the most frequently taught Christian concepts (prosperity and faith healing) carry little value in the worldwide scheme of importance. Health, money, and wealth rank high in the search engines, but have a poor showing when applied in the terms as used in modern Christianity.

This seems a paradox yet the answer is rather clear: though the secular world is greatly interested in health and money, they are not prone to accept the forgery that has invaded Christianity. This is not because they do not believe in get rich quick schemes or magic healing potions. The market is flooded with both ploys. State lotteries and other sanctioned forms of gambling draw people in droves. Energy and performance drugs saturate every branch of the health market. The harder and leaner times become, and the lazier people grow to be, the greater is the income for these dream-promoting moneymakers.

Aside from the promises of instant healings and prosperity, two phrases that dominate Christian teachings are: 1) "God wants you to", and 2) "It is God's will". Neither of these two axioms carries any Google Adwords power. Thus we come to the point of this letter.

The secular world cares not at all for our so-called Christian message. Two of the most valuable and important phrases in Christianity have been perverted so as to have no worth to anyone outside of the church environment. Why? Look at how they are being used.

God wants you to:

It is God's will that you:

  • Prosper.
  • Be rich.
  • Have perfect health.
  • Never suffer.
  • Make the world envious of your wealth.
  • Drive new cars.
  • Live in new homes.
  • Have in abundance so that you can lavish your excess upon others.

I could carry this list further and add to it many more modern day Christian promises. Is it any wonder that the world as a whole has lost interest in our message, if a message we still have? Not that these promises are all untrue, but rather that they do not bear out as being routinely fulfilled. We have changed the order of the message such that Christian's are too often left holding an empty bag. They come to the church assemblies, receive foolishness, see it for what it is, grow disgusted at the lack of power, and then they leave carrying away less than what they had upon entering. The secular world sees and knows the truth behind this.

When the message of the gospel has become little more than another get rich quick plot, or a failed source of magical healings one must expect that the world will recognize the lack of power. Using the same tongue with which he speaks of Christian prosperity, the Christian, so-called, curses his co-worker. Using the same eyes that read scripture as though it were a name-it-claim-it charm book, the Christian, so-called, lusts after his neighbor's wife. Using the same mouth that sings praise and worship on Sunday morning, the Christian, so-called, makes himself a glutton at the afternoon table.

If we tell the world that God wants us to prosper while stealing witness time from our employer rather than our break, the world will call us liars. When we tell the world that God wants us to be healthy while lounging on the home sofa rather than visiting the sick, the world sees us as frauds. If we claim miracle healings while retaining cabinets full of medicine, the world calls us ignorant. Perhaps if preachers would speak about sin, and of making changes in life-styles, and of living what we preach the world would begin to take an interest in what God wants and what God wills. For the power is not in the wisdom of men, it is in changing nature of the resurrected Christ. When we chase the matters of the world, we deny even that power to change.

With this message, I have written harshly. Maybe it is time for conviction rather than promise. "Ask and ye shall receive" does not mean behave like the children of Cain. Herein is a different concept, one not grounded in secular goals: let men set themselves to seek the matters of God rather than the matters of self.

God wants you to:

It is God's will that you:

Romans 12:2
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Isaiah 58:7 (KJV)
" Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"

Luke 16:13 (KJV)
"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

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