Weekly Reflections: Graft, corruption and prosperity Gospel

By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
www.nordis.net

“Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be.” – Luke 12:15

Prosperity Gospel

I would like to believe that the prosperity gospel being preached by televangelists and self-appointed messiahs since the Martial Law years to the present has something to do with the widespread graft and corruption in Philippine society.

Prosperity gospel can be defined as a religious doctrine claiming that financial blessings is God’s will for believers and that donations to Christian ministries will always increase one’s material wealth, regardless where it comes from. No wonder Janet Lim Napoles and her likes have to give generous donations to the church as well as financial support to selected bishops and priests.

The prosperity gospel’s basic message is that if we want to climb the ladder to worldly success and enjoy all the good things this life has to offer, then we have to get Jesus into our team, and he will fulfill our fondest ambitions. He will help us live out our dreams of wealth and prosperity. As someone said, prosperity gospel preachers make God into a cosmic vending machine where we can drop in a coin and get a cure. They preach a religion of boundless rewards even with very little cost.

Biblical Jesus

The prosperity gospel’s message has an enormous appeal to today’s world. It fits nicely with people’s selfishness and greed. As a result, there is an immense temptation for us to recast the gospel of Christ in this mold. Preachers of the prosperity gospel, therefore, attract a lot of following. The danger, however, is that we may follow a Jesus fashioned by the prosperity culture rather than by the Scripture.

There is a big difference between the Biblical Jesus and the Jesus of the prosperity gospel. The Jesus of the prosperity gospel promises worldly success and asks only for minimal commitments or even nothing at all.

But the Biblical Jesus promises us the cross and calls us to give everything that we are and have. Jesus said to the people of his time, “If any one would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Lk. 9:23-24).

Measure of Life

The problem with the prosperity gospel is the fact that it considers wealth as the measure of life. Getting rich by whatever means employed becomes now the obsession of those who adhere to this kind of gospel. They thought that being rich is a sign that God blessed a person.

When Jesus was teaching onetime, a man came to him from the crowd asking him to divide their inheritance with his own brother (cf. Lk. 12:13-21). Perhaps, this man was a younger brother wanting to get even with his older brother. Traditionally, a younger brother gets only a half of his older brother’s inheritance. But instead of responding to this request, Jesus saw something behind the request. He saw greed. Thus, he said, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be.”(Luke 12:15).

For Jesus human relations is far more important than human possessions. It is not what we get but what we give that matters in life. # nordis.net

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