Tuesday, October 05, 2004

PREACHING SIGNS AND WONDERS, ER,...UH...and Jesus.

Turn the television to the major religious channel and you are likely to hear anything but the Gospel. One individual talks about how you and I ought to call his toll free number to demonstrate our faith by sowing large sums of money into his bank account. If he's correct, all Believers are promised great wealth. Another fellow barely has time to say the name of Jesus for all the time he's talking about his fancy suits and large bankroll. I was astonished to hear him say one time that "I'm preaching Jesse, er, uh.... Jesus." He tried to catch himself, but in fact he was preaching Jesse and not Jesus. Another televangelist claims he's doing New Testament style miracles when his army of followers fall on the floor at his command. What a waste. The Spirit of God would be much better demonstrated down at the local hospital or funeral home--if the man truly had the Spirit. It is amazing to hear what is being offered in the place of the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul said he did not come with "superiority of speech or wisdom" when he proclaimed the Gospel. He warned the Galatians against believing a false Gospel. He said to the Corinthians that the Gospel is the message of Jesus Christ; specifically his death, burial, and resurrection (see Galatians 1:6ff; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). When the early church went out into the world with the Good News, they taught about the crucifixion of Jesus and they spoke of his resurrection. That's where the saving power of God is according to Paul (Rom. 1:16). "Faith comes by hearing", Paul said, and not by seeing miracles. Jesus said, "blessed are those who don't see and yet believe." These modern day charlatans should be rebuffed for the nonsense they offer in place of the Gospel. We need to boldly tell our lost friends and neighbors of God's saving message and avoid the bogus message of health, wealth and prosperity. If there is justice and help for this world, it will come when the world turns to Christ and away from sin.

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