For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. -- 2Corinthians 1:20 (ESV)
"God has a promised land of blessing for you and here is how to walk in it" the headline screamed. Gee, what can go wrong from there? Beloved, the NAR Charismaniacal landscape is littered with such poor teaching about experiential Christianity outweighing the verity of Scripture. We need to be vigilant in these last days lest we become deceived. God speaks to us clearly through His written word if we would have ears to hear. His voice is not discerned by goose bumps and liver shivers. It is not confirmed through pagan beliefs and happenstance. The above linked article is from NAR charismaniac Mark Virkler. It is important to pay attention so that we can learn to spot these mangled teachings in our own church and lives, mark them and then avoid them. So come and let us reason together once more.
"We all want to achieve the goals and receive the blessings God has prepared and ordained for us. I believe God has a promised land of blessing for each and every one of us. Some of these promised land blessings are delineated in Deuteronomy 28:1-18, and as you read them, they will take your breath away. They touch every area of our lives! If you haven't read them recently, do so now! All these promises are reaffirmed to us in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20). Let's make sure we arrive at our promised lands." -- Mark Virkler
Sigh. One of the most prolific false teachings that is central to so many others is this warped sense of Christian purpose. This started in the mid 1990's with Rick Warren publishing the Purpose Driven Church, which has become a manual for up and coming pastors for how to build mega-churches devoid of the Gospel. The "purpose" pastors sell sheep is now based on providing free labor to the growing church. Maybe your purpose can be found in the Parking Lot Ministry or Kidz Church. Whether a security guard, camera man, or choir member, God always has a "purpose" for you. The Purpose Driven Life came out ten years alter and was designed to sell even higher purposes to unsuspecting Christians. Suddenly God had something great and powerful for every believer that has been ordained from the foundations of the earth. Everything in the modern church became about chasing blessings. Never satisfied with Calvary, believers always were prompted to want and expect more. Jesus became a blessing dispenser that we just needed to figure out how to unlock.
We see this theology on display in Mark Virkler's opening salvo here. He sets up these notions of goals and blessings from God as a form of "gnosis" or spiritual knowledge gained through experience. The problem of course is that the goals God has for the vast majority of His followers is simply to follow Him. To pick up our cross daily and die to self. To represent Christ in our families and workplaces. To be that shining city on a hill. The blessings may simply be to breathe another day. It may be to think of all Christ has done instead of looking for more. Virkler's belief that there are Promised Lands filled with blessings for everyone is frankly ridiculous. Deuteronomy 28 is the completion of the Mosaic Law. God does indeed outline the 18 verses of blessings for obedience to the entire Mosaic Law and then He goes into over 50 other verses the various curses for disobedience. One of them includes being taken into captivity by a pagan nation. Sound familiar? That's because Deuteronomy 28 is not written to you! It was written to the nation of Israel who would always be disobedient and eventually God fulfilled His promise by having Babylon take them into captivity! To make matters worse, Virkler than conflates the key verse today and implies that it reaffirms his misuse of the Deuteronomy verses. It does not. All of the promises of God are yes but that does not change who the promises and curses contained in Deuteronomy 28 were meant for. Not to mention that no one could keep the Mosaic Law, which is why we needed Jesus to begin with!
"A summary statement of God's heart toward us would be: "'For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you shall call upon Me, and you shall come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart'" (Jer. 29:11-13)." -- Mark Virkler
Virkler now doubles down on an even more abused bible verse in Jeremiah 29:11. Ironically, as pointed out, this verse was foretold in the Deuteronomy curses because this verse is solely intended for the captives in Babylon. God wanted them to know that He had not forgotten about them and that He still had a plan for them. Can this be applied to the church today? Absolutely not. Sorry. Now, if you want to make a similar argument for the church, you must find verses that were directed for the church and make the argument. Our hope is not of this world. We are not promised greatness, nor even peace within this world. In fact, we are promised hatred from the world towards us for following Christ. We are promised that we must deny ourselves and carry our own cross daily. We are to partake in the sufferings of Christ. The modern apostate church sells a crown of glory and pretends you do not need the crown of thorns first. God's plans for you may be to act as a Christian in your mundane job and raise your family according to the word of God. It may be to die for His namesake. Our future and hope is in heaven beloved.