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The Conversation Continues: Reader's Comments
Readers respond to J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu's "Did Jesus Wear Designer Robes?"

Displaying 11–20 of 38 comments.

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Ackermann Lutz, South Africa

March 17, 2010  1:49am

3/3 Assuming that such a theology would also be quite bibliocentric, could it not happen that one of the theological trajectories of the Old Testament emerges as a possibility? And there (in the OT) it does occur more often than not that people conclude: "Does G-d love/save/favour me? Well yes, the visible signs for that are G-ds blessings in my life." (And they certainly occur on a material basis) So what I am saying, while "prosperity gospel" as an ANSWER (quite certainly) may not follow from Calvinism, the corresponding (underlying) QUESTION many well have it's roots there! How does that sound to you?

Ackermann Lutz, South Africa

March 17, 2010  1:47am

2/3 Now, let me try to rephrase more carefully: could it not be, that a (any!) theology which thinks/works/argues in terms of "predestination" or the like could lead to a situation where there is a strong need to somehow demonstrate (to oneself or to others): "I am in" (i.e. I am one of the "elect" / "predestined" / "saved" etc ones)? While that sort of question may not necessarily reflect the original focus of that particular theology, is it then not conceivable that it (the question) would emanate as a practical consequence (ever so hidden and veiled, maybe)? But how, then does it get answered?

Ackermann Lutz, South Africa

March 17, 2010  1:47am

1/3 Dear DR Randle, thank you for your response and clarification. As I had indicated in my original post, of all possible theological approaches Calvinism is certainly the one I know about less than any other, so may I please be forgiven if my ideas about it are maybe as "laughable" as you indicate. [in fact, I admit that I may even be prejudiced by the perception that Calvinism (as an staunch "-ism) is much an US-American thing - and that is where I would also localize the epicenter of "prosperity gospels".] Thanks also for the link to Mr Pipers sermoncast, I will check it out.

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D.R. Randle, Georgia, USA

March 12, 2010  12:23pm

Mr. Ackermann, It's laughable to think that Calvinism is in any way related to the prosperity gospel, much less a prerequisite for it. Every Calvinist I know (including myself) believes the prosperity gospel to be a terrible misrepresentation of the entirety of Scripture. John Piper, a leading Calvinist pastor in the U.S. has made it a personal crusade to denigrate the prosperity gospel movement. You can check out this link of a powerful video made based on a sermon he gave on the topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s&feature=related

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Michael Huffman, USA

February 22, 2010  10:18am

It is easy to condemn the "Prosperity Gospel" as a false teaching. But since we all seem to be convinced of its error, what should we do about poverty? This is a struggle for me. Is the corollary of recognizing the error of the "Prosperity Gospel" the teaching of a "Poverty Gospel"? I live in prosperity. Are Western Christians called to poverty in order to snatch their brothers and sisters from starvation? It sounds so cold to put it that way, but isn't that the heart of the issue? Does anyone else have this kind of struggle? I plan to spend $15,000+ a year on a seminary education in the next few years. I'm leading a youth retreat next month that will cost $85 per person. How does this relate to the problem of Christians in poverty?

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Peter Houston, Polokwane, South Africa

February 03, 2010  1:20pm

Like many theologies, half a truth is more dangerous than an outright lie. Yes, we are the King's Kids! Amen, hallelujah, God does pour out blessing! But the problem is always the cross. The purveyor of the whole truth is Christ and him crucified. The Prince of Peace wrought God's blessing for us through suffering and nails. Perhaps it is more likely that his blessing is for us to see him amongst the pain of the oppressed, the poor and the marginalised, than for me to be blessed by an excessive materialism that this world cannot sustain. Prosperity theology is the antithesis of Ecotheology.

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Lutz Ackermann, South Africa

January 27, 2010  12:04am

5) Liberation theology / revolutionary: Poverty as global problem of "structural sin". Needs to be changed (with or without force)! 6) Prosperity Gospel: have faith! Tithe! and God will bless you (spiritually and materially!) ... and there must be more, I am sure. Comments?

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Lutz Ackermann, South Africa

January 27, 2010  12:03am

part 2 3) Calvinism: ??? [I know too little about it, but I dare say that it's ideas about predestination/election (of a few) at least falls in line with [if not is a prerequisite for] a "prosperity gospel" for a few which excludes the many. Experts, am I right?] 4) Missionary / collonialist: "poverty is good for you / [not for us]" (in South Africa we have this saying: when the white people came, they had the bible and we (the blacks) had the land. They said: let us pray! After the prayer, they had the land and we had the bible.

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Lutz Ackermann, South Africa

January 27, 2010  12:03am

part 1 Looking at this blog, there seems to be much consencus that a "health & wealth" gospel cannot be "it". But what are the alternatives? How have Christians throughout the ages responded [in their theology and in their spiritual practice] to the ugly issue of poverty (and wealth)? A few come to my mind... 1) St Francis (of Assisi) and many others in the monasic tradition: embracing poverty, which, as one of the three "evangelic councils" [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04435a.htm], became part of their Rule of Life 2) Luther's work ethics [c.f. Max Weber's analysis of Protestantism and the spirit of capitalism]: from a faith perspective, wealth is seen as something God-given = good (in principle, at least); working hard (to create income or wealth) is seen as a virtue

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Cameron Wells, USA

January 09, 2010  10:31pm

The insidious prosperity gospel is a teaching that has been started by bigots driven by greed and power. It is a distortion of the gospel of Christ. It preys upon superstition and utilizes a guilt tactic. Whoever espouses such a theology needs to simply peruse the Bible and see that God's people are not exempt from suffering and pain, but are usually more susceptible to it. Did not Christ Himself suffer and say we would have to take up our cross and follow Him? Did He not tell us to not build up treasures here on earth? Did not Job learn the truth that prosperity and freedom from pain is not guaranteed to the righteous? Do we not have entire organizations (Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, etc.) dedicated to helping Christians around the world who are suffering from the pain and poverty brought on by persecution? This heresy is one of the most dangerous and poses a huge threat to the furtherance of God's kingdom! It must be contended against in this generation!

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