January 15, 2019 • Adam Wyatt
Recent reports have come out detailing the troubling situation of the leaders and members of one of China’s largest house churches, the Early Rain Church. In early December, Pastor Wang Yi was arrested along with about 100 members of his church and detained in the city of Chengdu in SW China. They were accused of “inciting subversion of state power” which is nice way of saying they were preaching the Gospel. It only takes a quick google or twitter search to see that China has ramped up persecution of house churches in an effort to stamp out one of the only competing world views in China: Christianity
In other news, around the same time, thousands of miles away, Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church in Green (a disciple of Joel Osteen) bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini.
What a difference. What a different gospel.
Before you get upset at me, I understand there is nothing sinful about a sports car. Well, at least not in itself. What is sinful is the false gospel spreading throughout many of our churches. Men like Gray, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland preach a different gospel than the one found in Scripture. They teach that God desires you to be healthy and wealthy and if your life is not blessed, it is obvious that you do not have enough faith. This is not the gospel. It smells of smoke because it is straight out of the pits of hell.
God may want to bless those in our congregations and He will bless many. He will also miraculous heal those in our congregation. However, he is not obligated to. As a pastor, we must be willing to speak truth to those in our congregation of the prosperity gospel.
How are pastors to do this?
Pray for those who are deceived.
Understand that many folks who hold to this prosperity gospel are deceived. They do not truly understand Scripture. These people are ignorant. Pray that God will open their eyes.
When folks are ignorant, it will take time for them to be convinced of their error. Be patient with them and walk with them as you pray for them.
Never stop pushing them towards Scripture and never stop clarifying what Scripture means. If these folks are saved, trust the Holy Spirit will convict and challenge them.
If we are honest, most of get upset at peddlers of the prosperity gospel and we have good reason to be. However, when it comes to our people, we must be loving if we are going to be instruments of their change. Remember, it is loving to push people away from heresy but we can only truly do that if we actually love them!
Push them towards examples of faithfulness instead of blessing
When I read about stories like Gray and the Lamborghini he bought his wife and then have conversations with people who believe that God wants to bless all believers with financial gain I try to push them towards people like Pastor Wang. He is a guy who is faithfully preaching the Gospel and is going to jail for it. The government of China is taking away their liberty and putting them into harm’s way. Just like week, reports came out where one of their church leaders was interrogated for over 48 hours with great physical pain inflicted upon him. This man, the nameless leader in China, is suffering great pain for the Gospel. He is staying faithful.
Those that hold to the prosperity gospel cannot reconcile or understand this man’s faithfulness especially when so many would rather have the Lamborghini. May we, as pastors, daily encourage those around us to comb the depths of the riches of the Gospel that declares, “my grace is sufficient to you” and may we remember our brothers and sisters who are truly suffering for the Gospel. For theirs is the Kingdom!