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Taking Our Chance with the Eye of the Needle; Part 2 of 2 – by Roman A. Misula

January 21, 2013

I. The more subtle approach

Most thoughtful Christians can see easily enough through the garish set pieces, make up, and three-thousand dollar suits typically seen on TBN. But as Western Christianity rolled into the new millennium, New Thought theology has become more subtle. Naked appeals at “claiming” yourself a Beamer in the name of God have become more rare. But the subtlety of this heresy has, I think, become that much more dangerous.

Osteen, for example, has begun to distance himself from the Word-Faith movement, telling a reporter in 2005 that “I never preach that whatever you say, you can get.” And it’s true, Osteen and his contemporaries may not say it explicitly as often as before, but the implication is surely there: instead of saying that God wants you to be promoted, he writes that “when God wants you promoted, it doesn’t matter whether your boss likes you or not…”. He doesn’t tell his readers to claim a Cadillac, but he tells them to “quit complaining about poverty and lack and start declaring ‘God supplies all my needs in abundance’”. He doesn’t say that God necessarily wants you in a huge house in a nice suburb, but he will tell you about tons of people who bought into his teaching, and got the nice house in the suburb.

Just recently, I was struck with this post on Facebook from a minister: “Blessed increase and multiplication comes when a person is enlightened by and in harmony with the Spirit of God. The measure we can be blessed comes as a result of our thoughts coming into alignment and harmony with the higher thoughts of God. Poverty, lack of possessions and a wretched existence is the byproduct of critical, negative thoughts, doubt, and unbelief…” Notice the emphasis on my efforts to “align” my thoughts in “harmony” with God, resulting in the material blessing. The post is dripping with New Thought influence.

II. Closing thoughts

New Thought has found fertile ground in the West. We are a culture obsessed with possessions, and upward mobility has become our God. We have more than any people group in the history of mankind, and it’s not enough. Jesus’ criticism of Mammon does not fit well with what we desire. The Bible’s warnings about desiring money do not fit our framework. A Gospel proclaiming riches here, promising us what we desire now, becomes as American as apple pie, and resolves the incredible tension between what we Americans expect out of life, and what Scripture says about those expectations. We are intent on taking our chances with the eye of the needle.

Before I hijack Dan’s blog more, I think the only way to fight this heresy is, of course, the Gospel. A focus on the brokenness of man, on the life and resurrection of Christ, and on the greatest miracle of all—the regeneration of the human heart, is the needed antidote. It’s that old time Gospel, placing God’s sovereign grace at the center of everything. It’s a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work in Sanctification, enabling us to wage war on those all too natural inclinations of the heart to covet, to be obsessed with with having more and more, and to achieve respect and fulfillment through our position in life. It’s faithful studying of Scripture, as emphasized in this blog, in an attempt to understand God’s revelation for what it is, not for what we want it to be.

From → Guest Posts

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