Opinion / Religion
Poverty is not a Demon and Wealth is not Godliness
26 Oct 2013 at 11:37hrs | Views
Author: Learnmore Zhuze
The German have a proverb which says, "If you want to kill a dog, you must first allege that it has rabies." Rabies is a deadly and dreaded viral disease resulting from the bite of an unvaccinated dog. So deadly is rabies that if not treated in time it can cause mental illness.
It is only natural for any normal human being to dislike a rabid dog. We all hate rabid dogs. The witty Germans thus coined this proverb realizing that it is easier to garner maximum support in killing a dog by alleging that the same has rabies.
I have seen shrewd politicians and businessmen using this wisdom to outwit opponents and competitors. The rabies allegation creates a fertile ground on which hatred for the dog can grow. It paves way for killing the dog with the blessing of the people. The psychology works wonders and even provides for enlisting the help of people in killing such a dog. A rabid dog is a threat to the livelihood of people and that is an incontestable truth. The same wisdom of the Germans has become the pillar on which today's enterprising church ministers have built their mega churches. This wisdom has become the bedrock on which erroneous doctrines have grown exactly as the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Timothy relating to the end times.
Every effort has been made to ensure that poverty is portrayed as the rabid dog that it is desired to be and repeatedly explained as a demon. The belief that poverty is a demon is the lifeblood of the prosperity gospel. It has been drilled into people's minds and as such has become 'truth' to most people. The wealth gospel is sustained by the belief that poverty or lack is a demon which can only be crushed by 'filling the minister's barns'. The belief is well calculated to ensure that it produces a docile Christian who will consequently strive to ensure they exorcise this demon by giving or 'investing' in church ministers.
Indeed prosperity teachers have amassed incredible wealth on the strength of this belief which has zero Biblical support. Architects of this doctrine have toiled to misuse Old Testament verses like the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy to woo thousands.The belief has taken root across the breadth and length of the world, especially in Africa. Have you ever wondered why the prosperity gospel has greater appeal in Africa more than anywhere else? Why is it not so popular in countries where a car and a house are basic things owned by every one?
My e-mail feedback clearly shows that people from developed countries are in dire need of the Gospel of the cross. One sister from the Canada wrote me, "√¢‚Ç¨¬¶this prosperity gospel has no meaning here and leaves people with a sense of emptiness."Back in Africa, you have no doubt heard talk of "The demon of poverty afflicting Africa" and of "Destruction of the demon of poverty" crusades held everywhere.
Recent efforts to further reinforce this belief by availing a letter written by one King Leopold are really laughable. King Leopold's letter alleges that early missionaries were sent to Africa to use the Bible to promote poverty in Africa by downplaying the prosperity gospel.
I find it laughable because this argument implies that Jesus Christ himself the founder of Christianity and his disciples missed out on this riches-gospel which modern preachers have suddenly discovered.If indeed Jesus intended worldly riches for his followers then his very life and that of his apostles would have been living testimony of the need for affluence. They seek to use this letter as a tool for entrenching the poverty-is-a-demon doctrine in people's minds. Others have dismissed Leopold's letter as a sham.
However, it is immaterial whether Leopold's letter is authentic or fake. It's not even a question of whether the letter is genuine or fake but whether it is relevant at all. A Christian's understanding of Scripture is not to be guided by King Leopold or anyone for that matter.Christians are people with a mind of their own and are gifted with the ability to study Scriptures independently. Personally, I have put in years of studying the Bible and nowhere is it implied that God ever intended his Gospel to be used as a tool for acquiring earthly riches.
In fact, the Jesus Christ I read about enjoyed no physical comfort on earth and told his followers to expect nothing less. To begin with, he was a man of no fixed abode. He had no known possessions neither was there any camel (the equivalent of a car today) owned by him.He even had to borrow a lowly colt as he made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:30). Surely, if his Kingdom was meant for the affluent, Jesus Christ would have contradicted himself by saying, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God" (Mark 10:23).The very life he led would testify against him. The much flaunted letter has also been e-mailed to me by those who believe I should stop writing about the Gospel of the Cross.
Indeed, King Leopold may have tried to use the Bible for evil gain just like the mushrooming prosperity preachers who have amassed wealth by distorting Scriptures.
Today, we may debate theories, pen articles, argue on radio and hold crusades but one thing remains clear: the Gospel of Christ has never been and will never be about earthly riches as much as some might try to breathe life into this false doctrine.
Jesus Christ has only one Gospel and that is the Gospel he emphatically taught his disciples: "And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come."(Matt 24:14).
Note that he doesn't say any other gospel (prosperity) will be preached as a testimony but that of the Kingdom. He also told Pilate that"√¢‚Ç¨¬¶my Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).
An independent study of scripture lays it bare that the devil, as the earthly god, is not jealous of anything material that is yours but indeed is against the salvation of your soul. The fight between Christ and the devil has always been about the human soul.
It is sad indeed seeing as it is that God's own creation is propagating a belief in worthless earthly riches which are the very things Christ warned against.
The question comes: who brought poverty? Is it some evil spirit as we have been told? Is it something to be cherished by Christians? Well, poverty is defined as a condition where people's basic needs for food, clothing and shelter are not being met. In short, poverty is a condition of lack.
It is precisely this undesirable nature of poverty that has given leverage to those who are using God's Word to their ends. These ministers, in brief, promise to end people's lack if people 'invest' in them.
This is heretical in nature because they are putting themselves in the place of God who, as the Creator, has this sole privilege over his people. God rewards people in accordance with his will not as dictated by their offerings.
It is so unfortunate that most members in these churches are bombarded with twisted prosperity verses. The devil knows too well that if you would deceive a Christian you need to somehow quote Scripture just like he attempted on the mountain with Jesus (Matt 4).
Jesus Christ's attitude towards the poor was totally different from his attitude towards the demon-possessed.
He had a warm attitude towards the poor and identified with them more than he identified with the rich as evidenced by his statement: "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort."(Luke 6:24).
Poverty is simply a consequence of sin. Poverty was the result of sin coming into the perfect creation after Adam sinned. Just like droughts, earthquakes and death which came in as a result of sin, so did poverty. God did not create a world prone to drought.
God never created an earth subject to famines or diseases. God did not intend that a woman should suffer pain at delivery neither did he create anything imperfect but these where the unavoidable consequences of sin. It is ridiculous to say that drought or malaria is a demon.
These truths are self-evident in the Bible. To avid readers of the Bible, the assertion that poverty is a demon is hopelessly untrue. While it is true that the Lord can bless people materially if he wills, the Bible's antidote for poverty is work, work and more work.
God said to Adam, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food" (Murume uchadya cheziya) (Gen 3:19). In proverbs, laziness is further discouraged, "a little sleep, a little slumber √¢‚Ç¨¬¶and poverty will come upon you like a bandit."(Proverbs 24:34)
"All hard work brings a profit but mere talk leads only to poverty."(Proverbs 14:23).In many of his parables Christ upheld the necessity for hard work which is also one reason why things like miracle money are totally at variance with Biblical teaching. Wealth without work is the devil's principle.
What then is demon? A demon is an evil spirit which possesses and controls the actions of a person as it wills. The well-known case of a man called Legion is a case in point (Mark 5). He was possessed by demons which caused him to cut himself and live in the graveyard.
The demons controlled him until the very moment they were cast out. A demon is therefore a spirit which dwells inside a person to control and direct him. The poverty-is-a-demon philosophy implies that the evil spirit which causes poverty dwells within the poor person.
This is what precisely tells you that this belief is nothing but a self-enrichment tool. Jesus himself spoke highly of the poor widow who put two coins in the treasury where the rich had brought thousands (Mark 12:42). Could it be possible that Jesus failed to locate the demon afflicting this poor widow?
Again Jesus puts it on record that, "of all men born of a woman, none is greater than John" (Matt 11:11).Jesus knew better that John was poorer than the poor. Could it be possible that Jesus praised a demon-possessed man in the form of John?
The Bible illustrates that poor Lazarus was carried to the side of Abraham while the rich man went to the hell fire (Luke 16:19). Could it be possible that high Heaven took a demon-possessed Lazarus to father Abraham's bosom? The Bible records that Jesus father was a carpenter from Galilee.
Surely, shouldn't Heaven have known better than to have the Messiah born of a lowly carpenter yet there were millionaires of that time?
Indeed shouldn't Heaven have known better that they were many rich families into which Jesus could be born than to have him born in a manger where he shared accommodation with animals? Could it be possible that Heaven failed to read that Mary and Joseph were poor people living in despised Galilee?
Surely, there are no mistakes with God. The simple truth of the matter is that we have people working flat out to distract God's people in this last hour to enrich themselves by following "deceiving spirits and evil doctrines"(1 Tim 4:1).
The ultimate command to all those who seek earthly prosperity according to God's Kingdom is given in Matthew 6:32, 33, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you" It is the polar opposite of chasing after riches as thousands are being taught.
It is no surprise (I write from experience) why prosperity churches are made up of people who know little about the Bible but are quick to bring you DVDs of their ministers to explain their beliefs. The poor flock knows only verses to do with giving that have been enlarged out of context to the benefit of ministers.
Monetary sacrifices without obedience to God's commands are a tragedy. It is important to obey than to bring 'investments' to ministers. Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is calling you to salvation and not to worldly riches.
This is the last hour. Take heed that no one deceives you.
You can e-mail Learnmore Zhuze at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source - Learnmore Zhuze
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