23 Feb 2011

Animism and the Prosperity Gospel

Below from Karl Dahlfred – Church Planting

23 Feb 2011

Below from Karl Dahlfred – Church Planting missionary with OMF in Central Thailand.  His website is incredibly valuable and encouraging as a like-minded brother and partner in the Gospel.  Read more from him at: dahlfred.com

I keep hearing, both first hand and from others, evidences of a theology of the prosperity Gospel creeping through the Thai church. Certainly not all Thai Christians think this way and I don’t want to overgeneralize but I hear enough of it to be concerned. By the term “prosperity gospel”, I mean this type of “Christian” teaching that tells people that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy, and to see health and wealth as sure signs of God’s blessing in their life. I grant that God’s gracious provision of good health and financial prosperity are blessings from God but Biblically speaking, the pursuit of these things should not be the goal of the Christian life (1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”) but rather, we should be content with what we have (Phil 4:10-13), and trust God to provide for our needs as we make obedience and faithfulness to God our primary concern (Matt. 6:33).

In many Thai churches, part of the worship service is a time for people to get up and give testimonies of God working in their lives in during the past week. There is certainly a place for praising God for giving physical healing, helping in times of financial difficulty, and other practical matters. But when these are nearly exclusively the types of praises that people are giving, then there is a problem. I asked an elderly Thai Christian, who has been a believer for twenty to thirty years, “Since you became a Christian, how have you seen God change your life?” He replied, “I was rather poor but now I am lower middle class.” I was hoping for more but that was it! I was talking with a fellow missionary who told me about the weekly “testimonies” of a church elder at the church where she and her husband worship. I know this church elder personally and

he is a very kind grandfatherly type of man who in many ways is a great blessing to that church. However, at the same time, he is getting up in the worship service each week telling the people how God has blessed him financially, flashing money and new electronic gadgets as evidences of God’s blessing.

When I hear Thai believers who talk about God’s blessings in almost entirely financial terms, I can’t help but think of the prosperity gospel from the West which is … (Continue Reading at dahlfred.com)

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