Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Summary of Lausanne's anti-prosperity-teaching statement

Local communities that preach 'prosperity teaching' (PT) are City Harvest Church and New Creation Church. I personally heard from their church leaders testifying that they believe PT is found in the Bible (see point 5 below). They are mega-churches with more than 20,000 each. But the Lausanne theologians think that their members are deceived by the leaders' wrong preaching. (see point 6 below).

I have summarized the wordy statement briefly as follow:
The statement is the result of several consultations in 2008 and 2009. It is meant to start the conversation over 'prosperity teaching'.

PT defined as "the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the "sowing of seeds" through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings" across various Christian communities.

PT is:
  • False.
  • Gravely distorting the Bible.
  • The practice to promote PG is unethical and unChristlike.
  • Pastorally damaging.
  • Spiritually unhealthy.
  • Offers no lasting hope.
  • Deflect people from the message and means of eternal salvation.

Further reflection is called over this issue.

1. God's power and miraculous workings are available but not subject to human's manipulation in all forms (words, rituals, actions, techniques).

2. Human's health and material welfare are not indications of God's blessings or curses.

3. Human's initiative and hardwork are encouraged to pursue health and wealth welfare. The good results out of hardwork are God-given nonetheless. Health and wealth welfare must not be only to the individual but also the wider community.

4. PT is not the answer or material promise to poverty stricken people. PT's preachers often fail to tackle the root cause of poverty and hence unable to eradicate it.

5. PT's preachers are sincerely wrong with their reading of the Bible and hence preach wrong messages from it.

6. The large number of people believing in the PT does not mean it is true because they are deceived by their preachers.

7. PT may be the result of local believers' misunderstanding of Christianity and hence contextualize it inappropriately.

8. On one side there are people benefited from PT, while on the another side there are people devastated by it.

9. Though many PT's preachers have root in the right Christian teaching initially, yet they moved away from it.

10. Christian leaders must not involved in:
  • Flamboyant and excessive wealth and extravagant lifestyles.
  • Unethical and manipulative techniques.
  • Constant emphasis on money, as if it were a supreme good—which is mammon.
  • Replacing the traditional call to repentance and faith with a call to give money.
  • Covetousness which is idolatry.
  • Living and behaving in ways that are utterly inconsistent with either the example of Jesus or the pattern of discipleship that he taught.
  • Ignoring or contradicting the strong New Testament teaching on the dangers of wealth and the idolatrous sin of greed.
  • Failure to preach the word of God in a way that feeds the flock of Christ.
  • Failure to preach the whole gospel message of sin, repentance, faith and eternal hope.
  • Failure to preach the whole counsel of God, but replacing it with what people want to hear.
  • Replacing time for evangelism with fund raising events and appeals.

7 comments:

Sivin Kit said...

I'm still curious what is Kong Hee's doctoral thesis? :-)

Sze Zeng said...

Yes, I'm curious too.. only took him two years to complete D.Th.

JOSHUA.L / ヨシュア / 林飛雄 /Josué said...

You from trinity(TTC) ? I see how the church build young people like you with a so bright future to flare people from CHC , oh please grow up , TTC is recognize with about 49 country around the globe , do you thing by challenging the word of god , you feel high or what ? I'm a NEUTRAL party , not on any side , but i think Pst.Kong Hee is somehow a recognize leader in the world for what GOOD deeds he have done , you should just stay in your kampong you know , it's like , you come here , given a godly opp , and you should just shut up and clear you shit in TTC and leave , no one wants invaders in singapore , you wasterd , a disgrace to society , how you uphold yourself determines where you from , so from what i see , i see a arrogant poor invader from malaysia , coming here to voice out shit , isn't it ?you should humble when you're here , knowing people can flush you poor rat in the shithole in singapore , and of course , from my tone , indeed i'm angry , and yes , i dare say i judge you in my words , but you judge CHC first , and either you and I have no rights to judge , leave god to judge , if CHC is that bad , God will judge and foresee the church , by saying 'bad' thing about what the pastor , you obviously is trying to bring CHC down , which is somehow barbarians behave , in kampongs . Hope you realize what good deed you have done for us and repent , repent and god will forgive .

Amen .

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Joshua,

Thank you for your most ridiculous comment.

Benntrack said...

Hi! Brp Sze Zeng,

Just like to make a comment that what you ahve written is the true fact and the reality of modern churches as described in Revelation.
I see no harm here. But, I am sad that the way it was written by Joshua because it shows one thing. He has no understanding of the Bible and has no love for a foreign people like you. The words used are horrible and unprofessional. It didn't show of him being a good or godly christian. And, there is no need to show anger or resentment.He has already made judgement. Well, he has to repent for saying the wrong thing and having said all this these, we love him.
Bro SZ, I love you and God loves you too. Peace of the Lord be upon you. Amen. Ben

luo said...

Dear Sze Zeng
You are gracious to respond to an ad hominem attack. I usually do not dignify such attacks with a reply.

Regarding health and wealth doctrine. When people claim that they can perform physical healings in a supernatural way with such frequency and regularity, my usual response is "Please search your heart. Are your claims TRUE". When people make false claims, they neither comfort nor give hope to the suffering sick. This is the most heinous form of cruelty.

I once heard a preacher claimed that he had healed so many types of diseases and I went away wondering why wasnt he in a hospital cancer ward healing those people and hence glorifying God. Interestingly shortly after that service he was seen in a clinic for his own ailment. Which made me wonder again. Why didnt he heal himself or ask one of his fellow healers to heal him.

I will also tell you that I know of a very god fearing pastor who does not preach such false doctrine. He once prayed with a gravely sick patient and comforted and encouraged her to commit her sickness to the will of God regardless of what her preferred outcome was. The doctors later varified that they could not detect the presence of the disease anymore and they had no logical explanation for it.

Pastor does not talk much about this incident. Instead he would have us focus on "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" 2Cor 12:9

Brother, continue to blog the truth and only the truth. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"

Sze Zeng said...

Hi luo,

Heard that many of these claims of healing are staged. But we wouldn't know for sure.

Thank you for the constant encouragement. Can see that you have been busy reading the posts here. I'm glad that this blog can be in some way or another interact with you on your own journey with God.