Monday, May 5, 2008

The Mammonian Heresy

Scott Bailey thinks we need to call the Prosperity Gospel for what it is--a heresy:

I have two suggestions for today. First, it is time to start calling the followers of the prosperity message any name other than Christian. My suggestion is that we call them Mammonians. They are not followers of Christ. They have assumed a set of assumptions from a materialistic society and have projected that onto pieces of the text. They are not the least concerned with the broad range of Scripture or with what Jesus had to say, therefore, we should refuse to call them Christians.

However, they are very interested in Mammon. They want more of him. They think about him, they long for more of him in their life and heart. They even turn to other faiths like Christianity and look through their Scriptures to see if they can find any incantations or rituals to bring more of their god Mammon into their life. They worship and love Mammon; therefore, we should call them what they are: Mammonians.

Secondly, while there has been suggestions to stop calling their movement the “Prosperity Gospel” and to identify it instead as the “Prosperity Message” because it is not the Gospel I suggest we go even further. Let’s call it what it really is: The Prosperity Heresy or The Mammonian Heresy. There is enough confusion for Christians and Non-Christians in our pluralistic, relativistic society without these charlatans being able to run around and identify themselves as Christians.

They are not followers of Christ. They are lovers, worshipers, and disciples of Mammon. We simply must start calling a spade a spade and identifying this heresy for what it is. If you want to be a Mammonian: fine. If the words of Kenneth and Creflo are more important than Jesus: fine. If the life, death and resurrection of Jesus may be mere magic formula to make you healthy, happy, and prosperous before your god Mammon: fine. But let’s stop the confusion and call the religion what it is: Mammonianity.

In the coming weeks I am going to do my best to take a look at the Mammonian Heresy in a series of posts I’m temporarily calling “Mammonian Monday“. I’m not sure what this will look like, but I am fairly sure there will be one uncomfortable element for many Mammonians: there will be words of Jesus used (gasp)! In context (double gasp)!



Read it all here. Hat tip to Jim West.

I wrote about the Prosperity Gospel last August in the this post. Here is part of what I said:

Simply put, Prosperity Gospel is a heresy precisely because it tells us to focus on our own wants and needs in material terms, rather than focusing on what God wants of us. Indeed, you can almost imagine a Prosperity Gospel preacher using the Rich Fool as an example of what God can accomplish: "There is a farmer in this congregation who prayed hard and believed in Jesus. He was rewarded with so many crops that he has to build a new grain elevator, and he can now retire from the wealth from his crops. This, my friends is what your faith in Jesus can accomplish."

Of course, as today's lesson from Luke points out, such a focus on earthly material success entirely misses the point of the Gospel.

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