Friday, February 27, 2009

What hath Tulsa in common with Corinth?

This Sunday I am preaching from 2 Corinthians 4 on how the Gospel must be the starting point for our "soul care."

In studying for the message I have been using Scott Hafemann's outstanding commentary on 2 Corinthians in the NIV Application Commentary series. If you are planning on studying, preaching, or teaching 2 Corinthians you want to get Hafemann's commentary.

Anyway, one of the problems at Corinth was their fascination with what we would call today a "health, wealth gospel." Paul finds himself having to defend his apostleship to the Corinthians. His status as a true apostle was being openly challenged by the "super apostles" of Corinth because he suffered and was not impressive in a worldly sense. "Certainly," it was argued, "that one as unimpressive and scared by suffering could not be an apostle." But Paul points to his sufferings and weakness as indications of the authenticity of his apostleship.

In his book "A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement" D.R. McConnell writes that the so-called "Faith gospel" is:
without question the most attractive message being preached today or, for that matter, in the whole history of the church. Seldom, if ever, has there been a gospel that has promised so much, and demanded so little. The Faith gospel is a message ideally suited to the 20th century American Christian. In an age in America characterized by complexity, the Faith gospel gives simple, if not revelational answers. In an economy fueled by materialism and fired by the ambitions of the 'upwardly mobile,' the Faith gospel preaches wealth and an international environment characterized by anarchy...the Faith gospel confers an authority with which the believer can supposedly exercise complete control over his or her own environment.

1 comment:

Belle Geary said...

Unfortunately the “health and wealth” or prosperity gospel preaches exactly what most Americans want to hear. It is a Christianized version of the Secret and promises that as long as you have “faith” (think the right thoughts) God will give you what you want and that you will lead a comfortable life here on earth. If people would take the time to read Christ’s words and read what life was like for the early Christian believers they would understand that comfort in this world was never what it was about. It is about giving yourself to God and doing God’s will no matter what the earthly consequences. It is about understanding that God’s perspective is an eternal perspective and that what we are living for is God’s glory, not ours.

God Bless,