Monday, February 19, 2007

Does God want you to succeed?

While channel surfing this morning I stopped at one of the "Christian" TV stations to hear what Paula White had to say. She was interviewing some preacher who was saying God had shown him the secret of the number seven. He was AMAZED that Naaman dipped in the Jordan River seven times to be healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5), AND this is the year 2007! So this anointed preacher was telling us that we're living in the year of SEVEN!! He said for us to just hold on, our miracle is coming!

Then Paula chimed in. She said that the Holy Spirit had given both of them the same message, even though they had not talked about it before the show! (Astounding!) Her message to us was from John 6, where a little boy brings his five loaves and two fish to Jesus, and Jesus feeds the crowd. Wait a minute! Paula said, "Five loaves and two fish... 5+ 2 equals ... SEVEN!! It IS the year of seven!!"

So, my friends, that's how to interpret Scripture. Just add up numbers and see if they agree with numbers in other Bible stories, and then apply them willy-nilly to whatever year it happens to be.

That's a wonderful Bible teaching technique, especially when you can go on to say, as Paula White did, that we need to be like that little boy in John 6 and give EVERYTHING WE HAVE to God (i.e., Paula White Ministries), so that He can give us 12 basket-fulls (of what? bread and fish?) in return.

Let's call these people what they really are: False teachers. Heretics.

If you go to Paula White's website, the first thing you'll notice on the home page (besides five pictures of Paula White) are the big words, "God WANTS YOU to succeed." Oh, is that right, Paula? What about all those people listed in Hebrews 11 who were tortured, faced jeers and flogging and even chains and imprisonment, who were put to death by stoning, sawed in two, killed by the sword, went about in sheepskins and goatskins, were destitute, persecuted and mistreated? What about John the Baptist, who lived in poverty most of his life and ended his life with his head on a silver platter? What about Paul, who finished his days in a dungeon, lonely and deprived of justice? What about Jeremiah the prophet, who was never understood or respected? What about John, who spent years in exile? What about Stephen, who was stoned to death for being faithful to Jesus?

I guess those people didn't have Paula White for a "life coach." Or maybe they failed to "sow a seed" to a TV ministry. I suppose they failed to "discover their purpose." How come "their tomorrows were not better than their yesterdays"? (These are all phrases borrowed from Paula White's website.)

What's missing from ministries like this one is the gospel of Jesus. On her website Paula White says, "I know that life is filled with challenges and opportunities and I believe that God wants us to face adversity equipped to win. God wants us to turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones." How do we do that? Paula's answer is faith. "Faith causes change. Anytime there is change, there is opportunity. That includes the opportunity to grow more, and see more, and be more. Yes, it also includes the opportunity to fail."

Where's Jesus in all that? That message might just as well have been preached by Tony Robbins. It's not faith that causes change, it's Jesus. It's not success that God wants for us, it's likeness to Jesus. To become like Jesus requires suffering, not success. Success is not necessarily bad. But for countless millions of people it's an idol, and these health-and-wealth preachers are fanning the flames of idolatry, much like Aaron at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

10 comments:

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

But of course neither their nor the Bible Codes' silliness should diminish the real symbolic and typological importance of the number seven in Scripture (see, e.g., "Seven" in Easton's Bible Dictionary and Waltke on Genesis 1 [p. 57 of his commentary]: "The careful use of numbers throughout the account attests to God's logical and timely shaping of creation.[Footnote 6: The structured use and repeptition of numbers is readily apparent. The key numbers are three(...), seven (i.e., seven reports, seven evaluations, seven uses of "made" in the suffix or prefix conjugations), and ten(...).]")

Mike said...

Granted.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this woman's show on in the rooms of my nursing home residents and it makes me sick. Preach it, Mike!!!

Kelly

orangejack said...

Bummer. I had my miracle year in 2003. I figured it was John 6 also, but I did the math wrong. I did the 5 loaves MINUS 2 fishes and got 3, and that's why 2003 was so good for me.

If only I had known to add instead of subtract.

Or with 12 baskets left, we can be blessed 12 months a year?

Mike said...

Glad I could help you out, Rob.

Pam said...

Amen! Preach it, brotha! I'm wondering what gospel they'll preach in 2013. Is that the Devil's year?

Ande said...

one time at 11:11 I saw a 7-11. As I was crying I looked up and saw a shooting star in heaven (it was a.m.). I look down only to find that all three of my pennies in my ash tray were heads up.

I pulled into the 7-11 and bought 3 lotto tickets to help pay for college tuition of kids I don't know and to my surprise as if some sort of miracle I won a free ticket.

so don't even start!

Anonymous said...

ITS NOW 2008 NEARING 2009 AND IM STILL WAITING FOR MY MIRACLE TO COME. BELIEVING THAT MIRACLES HAPPEN IS JUST DOWNRIGHT STUPID. MY FAMILY NEEDED A BREAK FROM ALL OUR FINANCIAL BURDENS AND I HAD THIS ONE CHANCE TO MAKE IT BETTER IN 2007. I TRIED ALL MY BEST AND WORKED HARD LIKE A DOG TO SUCCEED BUT GUESS WHAT? I FAILED. I WAS TOLD THAT I WAS A FAILURE. EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THAT I AM NOT AND THAT I AM BETTER THAN THAT. I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY WHEN I DID NOT FEEL GOD'S GRACE IN MY LIFE. NOW, MORE THAN EVER, I TRULLY BELIEVE THERE IS NO GOD

Anonymous said...

Anonymous. That's awesome. Thanks for posting this. Seriously. It reminds me of when I lost my job in August 2001 (laid off two weeks before 9-11). It was two years of un-or under-employment that never seemed to let up. My 401K was gone with the hot dry winds of those days. I remember once getting up from my knees mid-prayer, angry and confused. I thought I might never go back to it.

But flash forward eight years later. I lost my job. AGAIN!! This time because of 30 seconds of stupidity on my part (shouting angrily at my boss). The funny thing was, the job I had was in a whole new field, one that the two years of underemployment trained me for. I was making 50% more than when I lost my first job.

To say I was frightened about losing my job a second time was an understatement. But this time, even though it was my own stupidity that cost me my job, I realized where my faith had found its roots.

I knelt and prayed. Patiently this time, not frantic and demanding. I didn't stop praying. I took one month to get back in my field, this time as an independent! Working for myself. Six months later I am now making MORE than I was before I got laid off.

When I hear a televangelist try to convert hope to income (for them), I don't like it. But that doesn't mean there is no God, and that such a God doesn't want you do succeed.

My first stop out of the door was to go to a local church-directed career development workshop (I live in Utah). And the lady presenting there--a kindly retired grandmother unacquainted with corporate america, said these words "Heavenly Father would want you to be successful." I knew she was right and I simply waited patiently to let it happen.

That same week I thought to myself "who do I want to work for and with?" I called them up out of the blue and told them my qualifications. They said they had must been discussing the need for someone like me. I got the work and have a wonderful friendship with them to boot.

It took me awhile to recognize God's grace. But I do now. And I cannot deny it--nor would I endeavor to try.

So forgive me if you think I'm trying to argue or even persuade you. I'm not. Your post just gave me the chance to reminisce and thank God once more for His long-suffering mercy to me.

When you meet him, you can ask him why he abandoned you. I'll bet he won't even feel the least bit angry as he explains what really happened. But that assumes you won't have figured it out by then. Something tells me that if you allow yourself to pray and search, you'll get a clue long before you meet him in person.

I did.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I felt that way once too.

But nowadays I've given up fighting God and find that he was willing to let me join his team.

I don't suffer so much anymore.

And while I don't believe in Paula White. I DO believe he wants us to succeed.