Father Greg Jones (also known as the Anglican Centrist) posted his Easter sermon today, and it is a challenge to the uniquely American "prosperity Gospel", that my priest, Nicholas Knisely aptly calls the American heresy:
Norman Vincent Peale – Robert Schuller – Oral Roberts – Creflo Dollar – TD Jakes – Benny Hinn – Joel Osteen – even Rick Warren – they all have done well peddling a gospel pretty much like the new vision of Wallace Wattles.
What these big names in American religion all have in common -- apart from megachurches, private jets, and perfect teeth – is the message that prosperity is a sign of faithfulness.
Sadly this vision of a well-dressed, prosperous and charismatic Jesus isn’t just a money-making scheme. I’m sad to say, a lot of Christians in America believe it’s the Gospel.
Based on a selfish interpretation of a tiny bit of Scripture – and the delusional avoidance of the rest – some Christians actually believe that “if we follow the principles encoded in Scripture – we will find health, wealth and power.”
As I heard a guy once say, “if you follow biblical principles, there’s no reason why you will die poor.”
Well – friends – in this House of God – on Easter Sunday – on the day Our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead – I’m here to tell you – that’s just not true.
I’m here to tell you the only person who ever had the power of life, health and blessing – and fulfilled the Law of God -- not only died poor –
...he died abused, powerless, and disgraced.
Now, I don’t even like the phrase ‘biblical principles’ because it sounds like the Bible is some kind of recipe book for tasty living – but the only one who fulfilled the two great commandments – died on a cross.
Friends – don’t let anybody tell you otherwise – whether it’s some new self-help book or somebody holding a bible – Jesus Christ did do what God would have him do – and it led him to the cross of sorrow.
And – if we are really his disciples – who do what he said and model our lives after his -- we’re supposed to do the same.