You Cannot Serve Two Masters

April 27th, 2011

So Someone Cancel God’s Backstage Pass

Still thinking about the “seven blessings of Passover.”

I consulted a couple of authorities about this. One is an expert on both Judaism and Christianity, and he is a charismatic. His take? He knew of no such thing as a Passover offering. The closest major offering on the Jewish calender comes at Shavuot, or Pentecost. So unless he is mistaken, the notion that Jews went to Jerusalem and gave big offerings on Passover is wrong. I think this is a bad doctrine which has many good people deceived, just like the doctrine that says we can command angels.

The person I consulted did not flat-out state that the blessings idea was crazy, but he did say it sounded like “a gimmick.”

I haven’t heard from the other guy–“Rabbi” Aaron–yet. He’s no Christian, but he would definitely know if there were a special offering requirement at Passover.

This new doctrine concerns me, because it seems to be part of a bigger pattern of heaping excessive burdens on believers, to no constructive effect. Charismatics have developed a habit of begging people for money, and sometimes they are downright obnoxious. It doesn’t hurt the people who never give, but what about those who do? Do they really need to be told they’re still not doing enough for God? It’s a good way to drive the sincerest, most supernaturally powerful people to other churches, or out of church completely. Especially when the money the churches are already getting is being spent badly. People see that, and they think about it when they are asked to give.

I think Satan comes up with this prosperity stuff in order to destroy the reputation of Christianity, and to kill churches by discouraging the core members.

Some teachers tend to give us the impression that the more money we give God, the more money he will give us. But Obadiah mortgaged his house to keep a bunch of prophets alive, and he died in debt, with his house in foreclosure. God gave his widow enough oil to sell to pay off the loan. But the Bible doesn’t say anything about riches.

I believe that if you’re in God’s will, he will give you no more money than you can handle safely, regardless of how much you give him. If you had a maladjusted, greedy kid who did things for you in order to get you to jack up his allowance, and you knew he would spend it on porn and $750 alligator shoes and tobacco and other such garbage, would you give in? Of course not. Not if you loved him. People try not to give their kids things that will reinforce their weaknesses. Surely God is as smart as a human parent or an addiction counselor. If God lets you have more money than is good for you, it has to mean he’s chastising or giving up on you, even though it looks like a blessing.

God does give up on people. Read the Bible before you contradict me. I could give you a dozen proofs. Here’s one word that will suffice. “Herod.”

I know of a couple of addicts. One is filthy rich. His name is Charlie Sheen. No one can help him, because he has so much money, he doesn’t have to listen to people who want to save him. He lives in a Satanic stronghold with money walls. Barring divine intervention, they’ll wheel his dead body out of one of his homes pretty soon.

The other addict had a lot of money and spent it all, plus money taken from others. This person is clinging to a miserable existence, trying to avoid going to rehab, but it’s not going to work. Poverty, probably a gift from God, is going to force the issue soon. Which addict is more blessed? Which one is God helping? The rich one or the poor one?

Incidentally, the poor one has given a lot of money to prosperity preachers. This person even gave ill-gotten money to them. How about that? Where is that hundredfold return they like to talk about? My answer: it’s not coming. Call me the devil. I repeat myself: unless God decides to let this person fall deeper into depravity, it’s not coming.

Rehab is coming, and that’s better than money, which would only act as a poison.

The other day I heard Perry Stone admit that maybe God wasn’t going to give all of us a huge financial return on our donations. That’s a huge thing for a charismatic preacher to say. He believes we are supposed to be prosperous, so he’s not on the other team.

He probably got a thousand angry emails from greedy preachers. I’ll bet there are other TV preachers who would ban him from their shows for saying things like that. I believe he’s an honest man, and I’m positive God reveals things to him, so I would listen to him before I paid attention to one of the many preachers whose TV shows are really just infomercials.

Incidentally, I’ve come to see ministries and charities the way parents see kids. You want to bless them, but over time, you learn that giving foolishly will not help them, and it will reduce your own wealth. You have to be very, very careful what you give to ministries and charities. Jesus said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

As a believer, I am holy. My money is holy. My possessions are holy (hmm…maybe I should thin out my CD collection). So what Jesus said applies to the things I give to ministries and charities. If they behave like dogs and swine, I have no business spoiling them further.

God told us we have to be good stewards. In parables, he showed us that he rewards those who take their blessings and use them to advance his kingdom. Remember the servants with the silver talents? If we throw our money at irresponsible clergymen, we are not good stewards. If I give (or withhold) stupidly, I am destroying the wealth God gave me, instead of using it to do his will. Why should I expect him to give me his backing?

If you go to a church and see waste and neglect, you have to realize that if you give them things without thinking, those things will be taken for granted and destroyed, giving victory to Satan. So you have an obligation to God, who gave you good things, to try not to give anything that will be abused. You can’t expect perfection, and a certain amount of waste is inevitable, but when it’s egregious and systematic, it’s time to look for other places to put your disposable money, time, and possessions.

This obsession with giving money in order to get rich is disturbing, because it has turned Christianity into a supernatural Ponzi scheme. They tell you to give, and God will give you money. Then you give, and you don’t get blessed. So they tell you you didn’t give enough. So you give more, and you’re still not blessed. Then they tell you that you’re being tested, so you have to keep giving until you get your miracle harvest. A few years down the road, your savings are diminished, your earnings have not increased, you’re still as carnal as you can be (because they didn’t want to “judge” you by teaching you different) and they’re still telling you the money is right around the corner. But it’s not. Because you listened to men and not God.

Will God bless you for supporting ministries? Sure. I believe it. But which ministries? And how much money should you give? I don’t think God is going to bless you for giving your 401(k) to Kenneth Copeland or to a pastor who is focusing on the wrong things. I really don’t. How is God supposed to teach us, if he blesses us when we do stupid things?

Here is my question for the over-the-top prosperity preachers. If what you’re teaching is true, why isn’t it working?

Seriously, where are the millionaires you promised us? I mean ordinary church members, not people who live on tithes and offerings. Show them to me, and I’ll shut up. Show me this works for most people. I’ll settle for 75%. Ten or twenty people out of an entire church…that doesn’t even begin to cut it. If it’s not working, it must be wrong, so why do you keep teaching it?

Every church has a few people who get rich while they are members. That proves nothing. The same thing would be true of any large group of people chosen at random, whether or not they went to church. For this doctrine to appear true, we would have to see huge numbers of newly rich Christians. They do not exist.

And if giving in order to receive is so important, why do you talk so little about the real promises God made? Over and over, he promises to bless us with earthly prosperity for giving to THE POOR. We almost never hear about those promises. No, it’s always Malachi, because Malachi talks about giving to the temple, i.e. some TV preacher who won’t even open his books.

I may be a Christian, and I guess that means I’m stupid, but I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. I fully understand why people say self-serving things a lot and talk very little about things that help others. It’s because greed and lust for glory have blinded them to that which is obvious. Preach Psalm 41, which is about the poor, and no one will give you any money. It will go to the awful poor instead! What good is that? Please turn to the book of Malachi…

Otherwise-reasonable teachers have come up with a hundred different ways to rationalize sating their flesh; they have even decided that it’s God’s idea. And people who disagree…servants of the devil! Pray for them! They’re being used to keep God’s church in poverty!

Anyway, the ancient Jews did not believe in seven blessings of the Passover, nor did they take huge offerings at that time of year, so until I hear a good defense of this notion, I won’t believe in it, either. If we’re going to flirt with Judaizing, let’s at least be consistent with Jewish beliefs.

Speaking of Jews, I believe the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a very safe charity. I believe God created it, and he is blessing it powerfully, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The work it does is beyond reproach, as far as I can tell, and it appears to be part of biblical prophecy. They feed the poor, they move poor Jews to Israel, they defend Israel from the lies of the left-wing press, they provide care for abandoned elderly Jews in the former USSR…I just can’t say enough about them. They are even giving Christians a good name in Israel, and that has never happened before. I believe God will reward you, right here on earth, if the Spirit tells you to give to this charity.

As for well-known ministries, I think Perry Stone is worthy of support. I believe he was called by God; I don’t think he called himself, the way so many others have. I also like John Bevere.

If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but right now, I just don’t see it.

4 Responses to “You Cannot Serve Two Masters”

  1. Aaron's cc: Says:

    Each festival has its own offering with minor variations. Passover initiates the omer offering which is done daily until Shavuot. Whether Shavuot is a “major” offering versus other festivals isn’t clear. It’s “first fruits”. Never heard of an offering where volume was a factor. The most sacrifices were during Sukkot, but that was because there were sacrifices by Jewish priests on behalf of other nations as well as the Jews.
    There were freewill offerings, but there is no linkage to volume.
    Some offerings differed upon the means of the person making an offering, reducing an expensive animal to an inexpensive dove or even a handful of grain.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    “Major” came from me, not the person I asked.

  3. mostly cajun Says:

    I always looked at the “Prosperity” message as a pyramid scheme for christians. I watched entirely too many poor widows get talked into dumping mites into the baskets of preachers wearing slick suits and standing behind plexiglass pulpits, driving fancy cars and being waited on hand and foot by the congregations they visited because THEY had embraced the “Gospel of Prosperity”.

    Since their emphasis was that you, the believer, needed to know the secrets of the gospel they preached, I looked at it as a modern and destructive form of gnosticism.

    I got in crossways with a church when I referred to one of these preachers as a wolf in sheep’s clothing as he encouraged poor people to give “on faith” when they weren’t going to be able to pay utilities or buy groceries while they provided him with a lifestyle they only imagined.

    I like to think that the Lord recognized the faith of those people, not the ignorance they displayed by believing these monsters…

    (somewhat burnt)

  4. Aaron's cc: Says:

    Ultimately, even in a time where there is no Temple, the prophet Daniel proves that sacrifices and even a Temple aren’t necessary for a connection to G-d.
    Hosea 14:3 “Take with you words, and return unto the LORD; say unto Him: ‘Forgive all iniquity, and accept that which is good; so will we render for bullocks the offering of our lips.'”
    Sacrifices are an exercise in the process of tshuvah. They are not the primary focus or goal of Jewish scripture.