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"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. - Matthew 6:7-13 (ESV)
The bible is replete with warnings about false teaching for a reason. We ignore them at our own peril. Sometimes we see the folksiness of a Joel Osteen and think what the big deal is if he wants to motivate people or make them feel better. I get that and understand. The point however is that the world is filled with folksiness. It has experts on motivational and feel good speaking that we can avail ourselves of. That is not what church was designed by God to be for. That's right beloved, God does indeed have a purpose but it is not your dream destiny thingy. He has a purpose for His church to be salt and light to a dying world through the preaching of His Gospel. The bible teaches us that only the Word of God can save a soul. Not high tech light shows and mystifying smoke machines. Not marketing schemes and carnal words of human wisdom. Only the Gospel. The bible also make it very plain in Matthew 7 that multitudes will stand before Christ and say "Lord Lord" because they thought they were living their life for Him only to discover that He never even knew them. These are churched people beloved. How can this be so? Because of false teaching. Because there are victims of a Joel Osteen theology. That is not meant to pick on Joel because it is true throughout this country, even in the lesser known, no media, local churches that have been polluted by various false teachings. A friend recently sent me a sermon from one such church from this past summer. It was the first part of his summer series entitled, Kingdom Come. My friend was concerned that it might represent the kingdom now theology that we see growing and while it had elements of that; it was even falser than that. So let us reason together through various quotes from this sermon to see how everyday sermons and churches are being poisoned by reasonable sounding blatant heresy.
"God gave you a drive"
"He wants you driven."
This was part of the foundation for sermon series. It is related to the notion that God has given everyone a special destiny that for some reason, we have to figure out on our own. This is the first heresy we see in this sermon and it is foundational indeed, for so many atrocities being preached in the pulpits today. This is of course the Purpose Driven heresy. You may want to sit down for this radical theology beloved but you are not that special. Sorry. None of us are except Christ and that is what is really wrong with the Rick Warren teaching. It is designed to puff us up at the expense of Christ. What is worse is it takes the normal, average Christian life and turns it into anathema. The truth is the vast majority of Christians will not have some excellent far out Christian adventure waiting for them. If they serve God however, raise their family to do so, and represented Christ in the darkness of this world, they will hear well done my good and faithful servant. God did not give us a drive. He gave us a hope.
"God created us in His image to reign, rule and have dominion."
"He created you to partner with Him - that you would have dominion on this earth."
This is heresy number two made popular by Joseph Prince as well as many others. It has elements of the little gods theology that is the end result of word faith. What it is actually closer to is NAR dominionism. My friend has wondered about Kingdom Now theology but that seems to be closer to the preterist who believes the second coming of Christ occurred already. The NAR dominionist believes Christ cannot come back until the church conquers the seven cultural mountains. Being created in the image of God does not mean we share His power, station, or glory. This is the oldest sin recorded. This is Lucifer desiring to ascend to the throne of the Most High. When Christ walked the earth He did not walk around bragging about ruling and reigning. Instead He taught about suffering and serving. Only that doesn't make for a snazzy tee-shirt. The dominion is His. The reign and rule belong to Him. He is our Lord, not our wing man. The unbridled arrogance of thinking God needs you to partner with Him!
"You're not wrong if you have a desire to be a billionaire as long as it stays Your kingdom come. Here is the problem. We try to modify it and say we're supposed to be poor - no you're not! God has made you to be victorious and more than a conqueror. He wants you to have a flourishing business. Now, your seed might carry more weight than mine based on what you had to go through. That just means I should expect you're going to get even more for it."