Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God, Patent Pending

Ever watch Christian TV? Have you caught the latest teaching? Have you heard about the newest revelation? Perhaps you've read the latest book. Please understand I'm not being a cynic here. I'm as sincere as my eight year old daughter asking for ice cream. But have you noticed that there are all kinds of people telling us what God wants from us and what we should be doing? Is it me or are there some people out there, people of influence, seem to have a lock on God?

God, "patent pending". It seems sometimes that there are people in the religious world that would hold the proprietary rights to God. People who tell us what God thinks. People who tell us what we should think. All of this stuff unsubstantiated by any contextual scripture or any teaching of Jesus. I've lived long enough to see and hear some outlandish things in North American Christianity. It's not the ordinary God-seeking believer that does and says such things. It's the ones who seem to control what God is telling us or what we should think about him. In essence, they tell us what we want to hear.

Take for instance the minister who told America (and the world for that matter) that he needed to raise eight million dollars before March 1, 1987 for a medical missionary scholarship fund and if the money wasn't raised, God would "take him home". If you are familiar with the story, the money was raised, over a million coming from a gambling institution, and shortly thereafter the medical missionary scholarships ceased.

Then there is the case where a miracle-working faith healer was "found out". What was found was that all of his prophetic words of knowledge were fed through an earpiece from his wife in another room reading from a sheet of paper. What was on this paper were answers to people's questions prior to the evangelistic meeting. While he was telling people what "God was telling him" they were being lied to and were part of the act unknowingly.

If this isn't enough to raise an eyebrow, look at what else is common. The two examples listed above with countless others all boasted multiple millions of dollars in revenue each year. This revenue became properties, free houses, luxury cars, all things that "the ministry" furnished to them. As if "the ministry" owed them anything. So long as these people told the followers what they wanted to hear about them and God, they were willing to keep sending in the dollars.

Well, I won't go on about the lavish lifestyles of some ministers. Alot of people already know and virtually anyone can find out. I simply advise caution to the believer here. Be careful about whose dream your following. It's OK to wait, think about, substantiate and prove things. It's what the Berean believers did in the New Testament. They heard some new teaching about God and didn't just "buy in". Before you go and send in your dollars, and throw your support behind something, make sure that what the people are telling you is what God is saying is what he said in the pages of that Bible of yours. If it's not there, well, buyer beware.

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