Someone really doesn't like Preacher Kenneth Copeland
The gospel of chatting and looting
Author: A preacher in the USA stands on stage in front of thousands of enthusiastic worshipers in a huge church. The hall is boiling. The people cheer and the preacher shouts:
Atmo (1) from 0: 22-29 (Money, cometh to me now! (Our Lord is missing .. cheers for that) about it ...
Speaker 1: “Money, come to me - now! ... Our Lord Jesus Christ! "
Speaker 2: “Money, bring you! But dalli! ... Lord Jesus Christ! "
Author: Whoever shouts like this is Kenneth Copeland, a television evangelist from the USA, one of the many who daily bring their understanding of the gospel to men and women. He recently boasted of being a billionaire. And he is not the only pastor who brings money and Jesus Christ into an apparently lucrative context and has huge estates, jets and the corresponding jet set life. Kenneth Copeland stands for the so-called "prosperity gospel". One can translate this with “Gospel of Success” or - more critically - with “Health and Wealth Gospel”. Some call it “blab it and grab it” gospel (2). I'll translate that as "Gospel of chatting and looting". Kenneth Copeland is not an isolated incident. The proponents of the gospel of prosperity are many and appear daily in their own shows on television. Among them is a tele-evangelist with a significant last name: Creflo Dollar. A few years ago he asked his believers to upgrade his jet. (3)
But there are also German representatives of the “Gospel of Success”: I count Reinhard Bonnke among them. He is certainly the best known. He is very venerated in Africa and fills entire stages in his evangelism.
What is the prosperity gospel, the “prosperity and success gospel” about? In short: it is about the theological view that every person can get prosperity, success and health from God. Because there, by God, everything is ready - like in a treasure chest to which you only need the key. That key is belief. It has to be strong though. Otherwise the retrieval will not work. Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar openly reveal what they are about. When you give money, you show that your faith is strong. “Sow a seed” it says: “sow a seed”. Invest something and you will get something out of it.
Speaker 2: “Give God something to make something of. What you sow, you will get back many times over from God. "
Author: That sounds pretty biblical, but then it goes on:
Speaker 2: “If you sow 10 dollars, you get 100 back. If you sow 100, you get $ 1000 back, etc. "(4)
Author: So God only becomes active when I mix some money with the faith before I offer it to God. This is nothing more than a modern indulgence trade.
Music 1: Track 16 "Asuncion" in: Ennio Morricone, Original Soundtrack from the Film "The Mission" by Roland Joffe, Label: Virgin, 1986, order number: 3630281, date of publication: October 27, 1986, participants: Choir - Barnet Schools Choir London Voices; Composed By, Conductor, Orchestrated By - Ennio Morricone; Instrumentation By [Indian] - Incantation (2). Orchestra - The London Philharmonic Orchestra; Recorded at C.T.S. Studios, Wembley, London. LC-No: 3098.
Author: In the American “Time” magazine you could read:
According to a survey, almost one in five (17%) American Christians profess prosperity gospel. More than half (61%) believe that God wants prosperity for everyone. And a third (31%) are certain that if someone gives their money to God, God will bless them with all the more money.
No wonder that Donald Trump has invited a prominent representative of prosperity gospel, Paula White, to his inauguration ceremony.
Speaker 2: Paula White is considered one of the richest tele-evangelists. She was already called Donald Trump's "God-Whisperer", Trump's "God Whisperer". Shortly before the presidential election, she and Kenneth Copeland gathered numerous pastors around Trump. They laid hands on him and prayed that he would become president and make America great again.
Author: The prosperity gospel movement is growing rapidly. It has long since crossed the boundaries of the charismatic and Pentecostal churches. It has also penetrated evangelical churches. It is also no longer just “white”. The prosperity gospel communities are remarkably mixed in terms of skin color. Many African Americans have subscribed to the prosperity gospel. Some see this kind of belief as a great danger to the African American communities, which actually claim the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (5) He would turn around in his grave if he had to listen to what is mixed up here: Believe in Christ, 'think positively' and get rich. This is the pious variant of the American dream, of the dishwasher who makes it to a millionaire: Martin Luther King Jr. had another dream:
Speaker 1: I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of fraternity. (…) I have a dream that my four young children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by their skin color but by their character. (...) That is our hope. (...) With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together, fight together, go to jail together, stand up for freedom together, knowing that one day we will be free. (6)
Music 2: Track 01 “On Earth as it is in heaven” in: Ennio Morricone, original soundtrack from the film “The Mission”
Author: One can quickly dismiss the “Gospel of Success” as the “Gospel of chatting and looting” and “typically American”.
But I don't think we should take it too easy for ourselves. It's not all nonsense either. For example, I think it's good that in the prosperity gospel communities there is open talk about money, about poverty and unpaid bills that keep people from sleeping. In the communities that I know here in Germany, that's not an issue. It is often said that the Diakonie takes care of that.
I also think it's good that this simple message: “Give something and you will get it back in many ways!” Has spurred some people who have been thrown off the rails to take their lives back into their hands. Even the poorest are trusted to contribute. That is good for them. The poor widow in the Bible also brought her “mite”. (7) That was worthy.
The gospel of success has already started its triumphal march in the USA, South Africa, Nigeria and other countries. It is changing the face of Christianity worldwide. And European Christians cannot even be surprised about this: It was the white missionaries who always lived in one of the most beautiful houses in the village and had a higher education, had more technology and more effective medicine at their disposal than the natives in the countries of the south. This gave them the impression: Christian faith has something to do with wealth and progress. Can we now accuse them of pissing lifestyle preachers for wanting to have what most of us take for granted: a car, a warm apartment, schooling for the children?
No, I can't make it easy for myself with the “Gospel of Success”.
Also because it mingles secretly, barely noticeably, into our own religious practice:
In our churches we sometimes run after success. If the numbers are correct and the hut is full, you can no longer ask about the content. And the belief in God, who makes us strong, is sometimes very close to the 'positive thinking' that relies on one's own inner strength: If I only forget that I am poor or sick, if I only think very positively, then everything will work out for me. Not correct! There are also those who, despite praying, believing and “sowing seeds” cannot find work and do not get well.
In a prosperity community, they will soon feel homeless. At least fall silent.
Because there is no room for failure in the Gospel of Success. The children who remain difficult, the wife whose cancer cannot be stopped and also the many affairs of the television evangelists must either be hidden or talked about nicely. And there is also no room for criticism of a failed policy - and of the greed of the super-rich, to which many jobs fall victim. I am always solely responsible for my happiness or unhappiness. That makes it easy for the real culprits to steal away from it.
Music 3: Track 08 "Climb" in: Ennio Morricone, original soundtrack from the film "The Mission"
Author: And then I imagine again: I would be sick or feel dirty. Wouldn't I also deal with God? Offer him something so I can get something out of it?
Martin Luther actually did the indulgence trade 500 years ago. But let's be honest: trusting in God alone without installing a safety cushion is difficult; To come to terms with the fact that in spite of my prayers, despite my trust, I will not be given what I asked for and that doors will not open, although I hammer like mad ...
The gospel of success proclaims a god who sits on the heavenly throne and opens his treasure chest at a wink. A God who - as Creflo Dollar says - “has no choice but to answer our prayers.” (8) A God who is always available to us and makes us happy.
I believe in another God: in the one who is close and also withdraws again. In happy moments, I can catch a glimpse of him. But I can never fully understand it because it is different and comes out differently than we expect. His life begins in a poor stable and ends on the cross! That is probably the opposite of a classic success story! I believe in a God, to whom not only I ask questions, but who also asks me questions, whom I never 'have' and are therefore always looking for, even if he has long since found me. He has nothing in common with the predictable God of the prosperity gospel.
Music 4: Track 02 "Falls" in: Ennio Morricone, original soundtrack from the film "The Mission"
Author: But what hurts me most about the prosperity gospel is its sheer individualism. Here, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a life together in equality and dignity is being exchanged for my car, my house, my health and my success. It is consequently also my God. The God who loves the world and pours out blessings so that everyone has something in common no longer matters. But that is still what matters to him: the community, an alternative, honest community in which people - instead of turning around themselves - stick together and are there for others. In which people give something from the heart without lusting for something in return.
In the parable of the Last Judgment, Jesus is asked:
Speaker 2: “When, Lord, did we see you hungry and gave you something to eat, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? When did we take you in as a stranger, or naked and have you dressed? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you? "(9)
Author: These people simply did what they thought necessary as fellow human beings. And they weren't looking to see what's in it for them. That is why Jesus says: “You are blessed. You inherit the kingdom of the Father. ”(10) You, fellow men, the selfless.
Against the gospel virus of chatting and looting, it seems to me that a community that remains humble and selfless is still the best medicine.
And that is why the piece “Vita Nostra” should conclude this contribution. Translated, “Vita nostra” means: our life, life together.
I wish you a good sunday.
Your Christel Weber.
Music 5: Track 07 "Vita Nostra" in: Ennio Morricone, original soundtrack from the film "The Mission"
(2) David W. Jones, in: TGC - The Gospel Coalition: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-errors-of-the-prosperity-gospel, last checked: 05.01.2017
(3) The Biggest Scam of All: Pastor Creflo Dollar Will Get His $ 65 Million Luxury Jet 05/06/2015 05:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2016 in: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-siebold/the-biggest-scam-of-all-p_b_7521170.html. Last checked: 05.01.2017.
(4) According to Femi Adeleye, The prosperity gospel: a critique the way the bible is used. A paper presented by the author at the 2014 Lausanne Global Consultation on Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel. https://www.lausanne.org/content/the-prosperity-gospel-a-critique-of-the-way-the-bible-is-used. Last checked 05.01. 2017.
(5) Are prosperity preachers are destroying the traditional black church? Nicola Menzie, http://www.christianpost.com/news/are-prosperity-preachers-destroying-the-traditional-black-church-a-review-of-black-church-inc-121694/, June, 24 / 2014, last checked 05.01.2017. Charlie Dates, Don't give up on the Black Church, in: http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2015/september-web-exclusive/dont-give-up-on-black-church.html. September 2015. Last checked 05.01.2017. Dates advocates not overestimating the importance of prosperity gospel in the African American churches. In his view, it mostly happens on television. An instructive discussion of Prosperity Gospel is provided by Debra J. Mumford, Exploring Prosperity Preaching. Biblical Health, Wealth, and Wisdom, Valley Forge, PA, 2012.
(6) Translation to: http://www.focus.de/wissen/mensch/geschichte/tid-33178/das-vermaechtnis-des-martin-luther-king-er-hatte-vor-50-jahren-einen- dream-has-come-true-martin-luther-kings-legendaere-speech-i-had-a-dream_aid_1083073.html
(7) Mark 12: 41-44.
(8) David W. Jones, in: TGC - The Gospel Coalition: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-errors-of-the-prosperity-gospel, last checked: January 5, 2017. According to Jones, the original quote is: “When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass. . . . It is a key to getting results as a Christian. "
(9) Matthew 25: 37-39.
(10) Matthew 25:34.
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