Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Health and Wealth

Health and wealth gospel - this is a theology that believes that if a person has enough "faith" they will be healthy and wealthy. They will experience no sickness. If a person gets sick that is because they do not have enough faith.

I believe this is terrible theology. A theology that is not faithful to who God has revealed himself to be, to the bible, or to reality. It is really simply the American Dream packaged in Christian language.
I am not upset that people believe this. No one has perfect theology.

But what really gets me upset is when people walk into a hospital and tell the sick people that they are there because they have a lack of "faith". If they would just have a bit more "faith" then they would be totally healthy.
I have friends who have lost their children to sickness. People have actually told them that their child would not have died if they had more faith. So now not only are they dealing with unbelievable grief and pain but they get some guilt.
People struggling with mental illness are told they will be totally healthy if they have more faith. At times these people are dealing with thoughts of self-hate and loathing. They believe they are worthless and useless. And now they are told God is punishing because they do not have enough of the magic stuff called faith.
I know people who have died of cancer. They were told before they died that if they had more faith then they would get better. So in the last days of their life, instead of preparing to meet to their loving saviour, they are invited to feel inadequate. And to live in fear. After all if you do not have enough faith for God to heal you physically do you really have enough faith to be saved spiritually, to go to heaven?

This is spiritual abuse.
These people are hurting and in deep pain. They a vulnerable and desperate. And now they get wounded by Christians.

Oh, I know some people are going to say they are just preaching the bible. Trying to offer hope. They will cherry pick a couple of verses and say they are being biblical. Taking the bible seriously.
If you want I can debate those verses with you.
However let me ask a question. Before you walk in and heap guilt, shame, and fear on to vulnerable and sick people, have you truly researched the verses you are going to share? Do you know the context in which these verses are written? If Jesus spoke those words (did Jesus even say them?) what is the whole conversation about? What is that chapter of the bible about? What are the surrounding chapters about? The book in which that verse is found what is its main theme? Have you read scholars who disagree with you (where and why are they wrong)? What does the word faith actually mean? Are there biblical scholars who agree with that definition?
This is a lot of work. Of course if you are not willing to do this hard work, why would you think it is acceptable to march in and dish out guilt, shame and fear to the vulnerable?

You want to believe the health and wealth gospel - fine but keep it to yourself.
Enough is enough. I am tired of seeing people being spiritually abused.

No comments: