It is extremely popular in most evangelical circles to bash the health and wealth, name it and claim it theology. I'm glad. We ought to ridicule such dangerous doctrine. However, I find that in practice many evangelicals are not much better off. Instead of expecting material riches now, they simply believe that they will be filthy rich after they die. This is true, just as it is true that God's hears our petitions and will grant us whatever we ask for. Take this little quote for example, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you recieve them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:24). That's an unqualified promise there. It may be qualified elsewhere, and it is, but in this context Jesus says ask for it, believe it, and you've got it.
If Mark 11:24 were all I had to go on, I'd be wearing a suit made of gold, a humongous gaudy tie, and I'd have my own show on TBN. But Mark 11:24 is not alone. I have James 4:3 that says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ak amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." How do I square this with Mark 11:24? It seems that anything that I ask for that tends toward the glory of God is going to be granted, but anything I ask for simply as an end in itself is not going to be given.
That's the problem with many believer's idea of heaven. In truth, they are not so much looking forward to seeing Jesus there as much as they can't wait to walk down Gold Street Avenue and have their great big mansion. They want to get into that place where their treasures are heaped up. Like Scrooge McDuck, they want to swim in their personal treasure vault for awhile. Instead of heaven being about the glory of the Lamb of God, He is simply a means to an end, and that end is living forever in a lavish paradise.
Have you ever heard something to the effect of this statement?:
"You don't think we'll just spend all our time worshipping, do you?"
That is the sort of mentality that makes me wonder if we really infected with a sort of "health and wealth" gospel that makes heaven our playground, and that most only look forward to it because of all the "cool stuff" they'll get.
As I have said before, heaven is heaven because Jesus Christ is there in all of His splendor. Heaven would be heaven if Jesus were there if the streets were gravel and I lived in a shanty. It is His glory and majesty and the greatness of seeing Him that we should be teaching people to look most forward to. Beside Him, all other rewards will be pale and lackluster.
We Must Do the Impossible
4 years ago