Faith, not Word of Faith

Monday Musings for September 05, 2016

Good morning, Musers,

One of my favorite stories about faith comes from the late Adrian Rogers. He said that, as a young Christian, he decided to work on his faith. So he put a chair in the middle of the room and tried to move it by faith. (You know... faith can move mountains! So why not chairs? ... and faith should begin at home. EP.) Now, Rogers was a great man of faith (and a very able person in general).... and he gave that chair-moving the old college try... but the chair refused to move. But what Rogers said about this experience made me both laugh and gasp. He said that he was thankful that Satan didn't move that chair... and he was exactly right. That would have sent him down the wrong road. 

There are plenty of people who are traveling down that wrong road; they have have been guided there by Word of Faith and Prosperity-and-Wellness preachers who are teaching people that, by keeping good thoughts and by saying the words out loud, that God will move that chair... and thousands upon thousands of people are uttering these "prayers of faith." What's the result? Some of God's work is not getting done. How so? Not only are thousands upon thousands of people looking for faith in all the wrong places, but they are also sending millions upon millions of dollars to all the wrong places, too — rather than to the right places. For example, are you aware that there is a Kenneth Copeland airport... an airport? It looks to me like what Rodgers saw through came true in the world: Satan is moving the chairs-of-the-mind, and the distance they move increases with the square of gullibility... and/or laziness. 

Here's the thing: God won't mess with our free-will. God may woo... but he doesn't do... and his kingdom advances (or not) largely at our hands. Earnest Christians are always praying for good things to happen, like having money go to missionaries who are working in desperate poverty. But guess what? Miracles notwithstanding (which do happen, but these are not God's primary method for accomplishing the kingdom's work), he doesn't create dollar bills out of thin air... nor does he change a human heart to send the funds; that's on the human, not on God. God has designed his kingdom so that it may advance or stall by our cooperation with the Spirit or by our lack of prudence, poor stewardship... or an abundance of foolishness.

The gospel of Jesus Christ (as differentiated from the prosperity gospel) could have made significant inroads around the world with the kind of money that funded Copeland Airport. But that money's no longer available.... and we will all live with the effects of that failure. This is how sincere people who fall under false teaching can plain-old hurt the kingdom of God. Whoever said that knowledge counters faith? Not me. Knowledge informs faith. But purposeful ignorance steals from God.

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