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Materialistic Gospel and the good news of Grace – how far has the church defended its doctrine of faith? My personal perspective

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Bushiri's churchBy Rev. Malawo Matyola

I have always been disturbed as a moderately old Pentecostal clergy on how far we have gone in defending the content of the gospel as propagated by our Lord and Savior Jesus and the Bible saints. It is always challenging to be associated with the Pentecostal movement in view of the more emphasis on materialistic gospel at the expense of the Gospel that brings salvation by Grace through the Calvary death and resurrection of Jesus our savior.

In this article I don’t want to focus on the content of the gospel but rather share my thoughts around money making. I feel obliged to share my personal opinion on this subject as a Pentecostal clergyman so as to create a differentiation between the emerging Pentecostal materialistic and fortune teller, and the salvation focused Pentecostal clergy. This is a personal opinion not meant to condemn anyone with a contrary view point.

bibleMatthew 6 vs. 19 I have found this text very motivating for this article and I have found the words of our Lord Jesus Christ very inspiring in terms of setting our priorities for our Christian living. In this text the author brings out facts which can transform our way of taking life and living. He encourages us on how to manage our treasures for purposes of attaining eternal dividends. He gives us the disadvantages of investing on earth as there is a possibility of our wealth being destroyed by motor being stolen by thieves.

This is a clear indication that our earthly investments are vulnerable to risk associated to earthly environment – the world is corrupt and has no abilities to safeguard our investments. It is impossible to get full happiness through earthly investment. If anything, it may add sorrow and misery to our lives (1Timothy 6:6-10).

In this article I have dealt with the emerging prosperity gospel in relation to the core mandate of the church. My take is that while God expects us to prosper, he expect us to apply basic principles to wealth creation and further build our pursuit to wealth on strong spiritual foundation. In this case strong spiritual foundation refers to our ability to apply our wealth for kingdom investment. Kingdom investment in my opinion speaks of our ability to utilize personal wealth to spread the gospel.

My wealth is meant to facilitate the work of the Lord, finance church building projects, and finance the basic needs of the kingdom laborers and financing the sending out of missionaries to unreached communities.   Our wealth is not meant for pleasure and leisure or to show off. This is where most preachers have it wrong – they preach materialism at the expense of the gospel.  They measure one’s spiritual meter on the basis of material possession and not the state of the heart and its relation to its creator. I was just reflecting on what spirituality is in our day and time. My conclusion is that “spirituality” is about the state of one’s heart toward God and not the material possession one may have.” Further, “poverty is not synonymous to evil nor prosperity to righteousness” The only thing that is key in life is our pursuit for righteousness and our dependence on God for everything we need for life and living.

I have a strong belief that wealth creation is not magical but a process which requires hard working, self-discipline, among others. Materialistic preaching has made it to seem that poverty is evil to the extent that a poor person can hardly fit in our modern church set up – at the same time I am not a believer in the assertion that propagate being poverty as a sign of righteousness. Spirituality is blind to physical status but alive to the status of your heart and motives. This is the motivation of my article. It’s important that people know the basic principles guiding our prosperity unlike the wide spread principles which promote to the larger extent laziness at the expense of hard work.

Church during a prayer session

Church during a prayer session

I have also noted with sadness what I would call spiritual manipulation in the name of encouraging giving. The clergy have turned the alter as marketing platform to promote their respective products like anointing oil and water; and since they enjoy the autonomy there is no system to regulate the pricing of such commodities. As a result, we have instances where anointed water is being sold for as much as ZMK100 per small bottle. Given, the current economic hardship we are in as a nation, people are looking for solutions out of poverty and the prosperity gospel seem to be the easy way to go. Additionally, some Ministers have expected to be paid a “miracle fee” before they could prayer for the sick. This is done directly or indirectly, and of course through manipulation.

In pursuing personal wealth believers are encouraged to apply the spirit of entrepreneurship as demonstrated by Bible characters for their creation of wealth (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Genesis 39: 2; Proverbs 6:6-11; 31:10-31). This has a historical background of God blessing the works of your hands concept, meaning you become your own boss while adhere to the necessary principles of hard working and self-discipline. It is the Bible that encourages the righteous person to leave an inheritance for his children (2 Corinthians 12:14).

In our desire to pursue personal wealth, we must know that God is fair and opens opportunities for all people. It is our inability to discern such opportunities and utilize them for our personal wealth creation and redistribution that’s often the problem. For this to occur we require mind set transformation and re-alignment to reality that personal wealth creation is a process and not a one off supernatural encounter. Christians, no matter how spiritual they are should be able to navigate the process of wealth creation which includes understanding and applying basic business principles and the circle of investment and retains.

In the Bible, we have examples of Men of God who invested and enjoyed the dividends. One example is that of Abraham in Genesis 12. His father was Terah, an idol worshipper. Prior he was called Abram but because of his demonstrated faith and trust in God his name was changed to Abraham which means Father of many nations. God told Abraham that if he could leave his parent in faith God and go to a place the Lord was to show him, the Lord would in turn bless him by transforming his name to Abraham.

In pursuing his vision as per promises from God – Abraham took a risk to leave his mother and father and started navigating the way to attaining his vision. In life, entrepreneurs who have succeeded are those who have taken risk and with determination have made decisions based on the future aspirations than their current status. This is because the future aspiration defines the potential and capacity one has to transform yourself too.

Abraham was married to Sara and together they had one son Isaac. Abraham was a farmer and great entrepreneur, he owned herds of cattle, sheep and, all these were in thousands as demonstrated in Genesis 13:1 – 3

Christian’s ministry is not meant for profiting making or accumulating wealth but service. It is therefore my view that the clergy focus more on service unto the LORD than innovating ways of transforming Christian service into personal wealth creation ventures.

 

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3 Responses to Materialistic Gospel and the good news of Grace – how far has the church defended its doctrine of faith? My personal perspective

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31