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What God Doesn’t Promise

Today I’m contributing to Seth Haines’ current series “the creeping prosperity gospel.Please read all the posts. It is so very important that we address this head-on. Nothing fills me with more rage than the prosperity gospel.

In a nutshell, “the prosperity gospel” is the idea perpetuated by the likes of TBN and Joel Osteen (but is by no means a new or recent idea) that following God guarantees you a problem-free life.  If you believe it hard enough, claim it strongly enough, find the right formula, God will do whatever you want Him too. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Except it has a dark underbelly. According to the prosperity gospel, if you experience problems, whether it’s poor health, injury, financial loss, broken relationships, whatever, it’s the direct result of weak faith or sin in your life. Our children’s medical problems, Elli’s seizures and developmental delays and brain injury? This teaching says all of that is our fault.

The prosperity gospel is FALSE. It is wicked. It destroys people.

See? This stuff gets me worked up.

My post for Seth addresses the question, “What does God NOT promise?”

“Jesus calms storms,” the man proclaimed from the center of the circle, campfire glowing orange behind him. He waved his Bible as he paced in front of the kids as they perched awkwardly on the concrete ring encircling the gathering place. “Jesus spoke and the storm stopped raging. Jesus spoke and the demons left the man in the cemetery. Jesus calms storms inside you too.”

Read the whole story at Seth Haines’ blog, and then let’s talk about this in the comments. What doesn’t God promise? What does this mean for us, especially in the midst of suffering?

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  1. Ok – I’m heading over there directly but YES this gets me worked up for the same reasons. I just don’t understand how the people who blame us for our kids’ disabilities can’t agree that their lives are messy and complex and joyful and hard and rewarding and exhausting too.
    I need to stop talking and go read your post which I already love.

  2. Hmm, interesting. I’ve always heard the storm passage as a metaphor for Jesus calming our internal storms. But maybe instead of calming the storm, Jesus is with us IN the storm? Maybe instead of tell the storm to be still, Jesus is actually helping us find a life jacket.

  3. I just found this bog. I love you guys!

  4. I get the stabby feelings, too!

  5. Thank you, Joy. Your words are grand.


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