This morning I read an article by Steven Morales on The Gospel Coalition's website:
I Visited a Prosperity Gospel Megachurch
The article is worth a read. The author wanted to see what a prosperity church was about and so he visited one. He makes some great points. It is easy for people to twist God's Word and make it all about themselves. The prosperity gospel is indeed about as shallow a religion as one could hope for. There is no doubt about that.
I had only one issue with the article. Mr. Morales says, "People need Jesus, not your snarky criticism." Yes, I agree with this Snarkiness only hurts the conversation but I don't agree with not calling out these people online. Let me tell you why.
If you've read any of my blog, you'll know, I was hurt terribly by family seduced by this false gospel. They are still very involved and, sadly, now involved with Bethel in Redding. Their hearts haven't changed. They still very glibly will share with you what 'God told them'. If the 'word' that they share isn't in some way to control your life, it is to rationalize something in their own. You can't argue with God, right?
As a result, I do share articles about Bethel, about Jesus Culture, about Kim Walker, about Jenn Johnson, about Kris Valloton and about other popular wolves involved in the health and wealth doctrine (i.e. Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, etc...). As more and more people leave these teachings, they are sharing the cultic and occultic nature behind them.
Generally the post I share will get a few likes and maybe a comment about how awful all of it is. Then, I get a private message or email from somebody. The article made an impression. They've been listening to Jesus Culture and they didn't realize all the weirdness that surrounds them. They knew something was off though and just didn't know what it was. They want to know more. So I share my story. All the while I'm praying for them. Sometimes these folks don't really respond after a few messages and I just continue to pray and then I hear from them again. They were convicted and no longer follow those teachings. Awesome! Sometimes, the response is immediate and they are done with those teachers. Other times, I'll hear from somebody so far into these teachings and while the conversation may start out well, they soon let loose about what they think of me. I never make the conversation personal about them. It's about me and what God's done in my life and what is wrong with the teachings. The angrier they get, the more I know they are very lost and all that you do is pray at that point.
There are those who believe that if you just share the Truth, people will recognize that they are involved in some hokey teachings but I've heard from enough people now to realize that isn't always true. Sometimes that article you post about a false prophet or false teacher will really shake somebody out of their 'prosperity gospel' stupor.
The Bible contains quite a few warnings about false prophets and false teachers. Shouldn't we warn our friends and loved ones as well?
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. ~ 2 Peter 2:1-3
Keep sharing those articles and keep praying that the Holy Spirit would just reveal truth to them.