Saturday, January 10, 2009

Faith in God or "MY FAITH"

In these last days the "faith message" has become a big movement all over the United States. There are many churches known as Word of Faith churches. A man named Kenneth Hagin started a bible college because he said that Jesus appeared to him and told him to go and teach His people faith. In the last year I have noticed some things that don't seem to be right about the "faith message" that I have heard. The message of faith has become such a doctrine of itself to certain groups it is like an idol or like a god. In Word of Faith circles, faith teaching grossly outweighs other foundational teachings of the New Testament such as salvation, baptism, obedience, holiness, humility, and love. Faith has become a "how to get what you want" doctrine and a "how not to have to put up with anything you don't want" doctrine.

The majority of faith teaching is centered around material things.

Have faith in God. In Matthew 11 Jesus spoke to a fig tree and told it to wither and die. A couple of days later when they passed the tree it was dead and the disciples were amazed. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Jesus to launch out into a great and profound teaching on the ABC's of faith, but yet He didn't. All He said was "Have faith in God" How could it be that He neglected to take this opportunity to tell us that we could have anything we ever wanted and live like King Solomon if we would develop, exercise and use out faith.?

In our former church we were constantly challenged to develop and exercise out faith. We were told to never be satisfied with where we were or what we had. If we were, then we were stagnant. We were to constantly be using our faith to believe for more and better things and then when they came to us we were told not to stop there, but to believe for bigger, and better and more things. We were also taught to use our faith to change our circumstances to get what we wanted. I can't find anywhere in the Bible where these things were taught.

We were also taught that we were to rely on our faith. If we didn't receive what we wanted or needed it was because of our faith. Our pastor was also always giving us examples of what all he could get with HIS faith. He had money because of HIS faith, expensive cars because of HIS faith, went on great vacations because of HIS faith, didn't have to go by the rules because of HIS faith, received VIP treatment because of HIS faith, he would never have a child die or be terminally ill because of HIS faith, he could speed without getting tickets because of HIS faith, he could shop at the most expensive stores because of HIS faith while some were told that they had not bothered to develop their faith or that they only had Ford faith. This led into faith comparisons and obvious pride.

Why didn't Jesus teach this? Maybe because this is not what faith is all about. Maybe we are supposed to be using our faith for the harvest, for the lost, to help the poor, to feed the hungry, to be able to love the unlovable, to turn the other cheek, to esteem others above ourselves, to crucify our flesh and to know Him more.

In all the time I have been a christian, I have never seen faith in action like I read about in the New Testament church. So why didn't they use their faith to get rich? Why didn't they use their faith for houses and lands? Why didn't they use it to avoid getting eaten by lions, dismembered, burned alive and crucified? They did use their faith to spread the true gospel that Jesus died for their sins and that people needed to REPENT and turn to Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. In all my years at my former church I don't recall hearing much on repentance. I NEVER heard a message on crucifying the flesh.

In 2Timothy 4 the Bible talks about people with itching ears who will follow teaching that appeals to their fancy. The Message translation calls it "spiritual junk food" and the amplified translation refers to it as "what is pleasing and gratifying" and "teachers chosen to fulfill their own liking". The faith message certainly fits these two descriptions.

Galatians tells us not to follow "any other gospel". I don't want to follow a gospel that encourages me to be focused on me, MY faith and what material things I can get with it. I believe I will stick with the gospel in the Bible.


Barb said...

I have always said that anyone preaching on the first part of the 'Faith chapter" in Hebrews and neglecting the 2nd part was preaching a different gospel than what is in there. Good post!

Anonymous said...

Good post!!!

John Edwards said...

This is an awesome post and I love the way you explained everything. outstanding observations.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows faith is all about getting big piles of cash and looking like a big dog. Didn't Jesus say "It's all about the almighty dollar?" Didn't they find him saying that in the Dead Sea Scrolls?