Jesus once asked, “Can you discern the signs of the times?” It seems to me the church at large is entering into a new season. It is a time much like when Jesus entered into the temple, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and used a whip to drive them out.
Mat 21:12-13 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
This new season is bringing a higher level of financial accountability. Not only are we seeing this locally in Tulsa regarding Oral Roberts University, but also nationally as Senator Grassley asks some reasonable questions of some of the most prominent ministries in the land. Some of those questions include:
Those are only three of an extensive list of questions being asked of the six ministries. I have been teaching a series lately titled “The Gospel of Greed.” One of the main passages used in that series is Matthew chapter 23 where Jesus delivered a scathing message against the Pharisees and Scribes. They were at the highest status of religion in their day, the ones all of the people looked up to as being the standards of holiness and righteousness. Yet Jesus told them plainly that they were using religion as a means of gathering money to live a lavish lifestyle. On the outside they looked clean and holy. But on the inside they were full of two things; extortion and excess!
Mat 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
From the New American Standard Dictionary:
Extortion - The illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.
Excess - An amount or quantity beyond what is normal or sufficient; superfluity.
Jesus had already warned his disciples about the false doctrine of the Pharisees and scribes. He told them they were using it to “devour widow’s houses.” [Mark 12:38-40] They weren’t using guns to forcibly rob from widows. No, they were using false doctrine in order to cause them to give beyond what was sufficient in order that they themselves could live lavishly.
God is not against genuine prosperity. He promised Abraham that his descendents would possess a good land that flowed with milk and honey. A land where they would eat bread without scarceness, where all they owned would be increased. The wilderness had been a land of "barely enough" as they had lived on manna only for 40 years. Canaan was to be a land of "more than enough" and God was pleased with that. God is not miserly, wanting us to live on barely enough all of our lives.
But God requires truth and holiness in all that we do. He is not against prosperity, but He is definitely against teaching false doctrine in order to gain money unjustly. He is against extortion and excess that "devours" the estate of the widows and the poor. I will close by sharing a portion of an email we received from a believer in Kenya after hearing some of the messages in "The Gospel of Greed."
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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