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The Prosperity Gospel, The Resurrection, And Cancer

September 7, 2007

I have personal reasons for writing this post on the Prosperity Gospel, which I will keep to myself.  Yet, I do not believe I need to have any personal reasons to write this.  I just need to span the world-wide damage the Prosperity Gospel is having.  Personalities within the movement have caused spiritual hemorrhaging in major portions of the United States.  They have an obvious desire to shock, using provocative statements with biblical texts to display their claim to health, wealth, and social status that God has promised them.  They generate excitement about this life – not the life to come.  Therefore, the presence of cancer and the hope of the resurrection in the life of a Christian is misunderstood.  This overly optimistic view of this earthly life diminishes the hope of the resurrected life and is heavily contrary to the glory of Christ on the cross.

Cancer

Cancer in the life of a Christian is not the presence of the Devil, nor it is because of the lack of faith.   We should see cancer as a signboard to the massive impudence of sin in the face of God.  All of life and all of creation has been “subjected to futility” (Rom. 8:20).  Earthquakes, tsunamis, birth-defects, blindness and cancer all occur in this life because we have been subjected to a futility that should show the obvious picture of the passing value of this world.  It is important to see that it is not sin that has subjected this world to futility, nor is it the Devil, but it is God.  “Because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondange to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20-21).  The Devil does not hope for the freedom of the glory of the children of God for anyone, only God works with that assured hope in mind.  It was God who subjected the world to futility in Genesis 3 after the fall of man.  Futility in this world should not show us anything but that our sin has had eternal consequences in the face of the most holy God of heaven.  Because of sin, there is no claim to anything in this life – only a hope for what is not yet seen.  The same God that subjected the world to futility, set forth a hope in the Seed of Adam that will crush the head of the serpent (Ge. 3:15) and claim for us the only claim that we have in Christ – the resurrection.  The Prosperity Gospel diminishes the offense of sin, takes away the glory of the cross, and downplays the resurrection.

Resurrection

Amongst many pains, trials, and sufferings we wait for the resurrection – the adoption of sons.  This is our hope that is not seen and that we wait for in patience (Rom. 8:25).  Cancer should be an amplifier in our ears that this is not the life to hope in.  This is not the life to lay claims to.  Cancer should be a grace in the life of the believer to look at his futile body and know that this is not it!  My Savior has put forth his body as a sacrifice so that I may shed this cancer-eaten flesh and put on immortality.  We should not downplay the glory of the resurrection by hoping in the health and wealth of this life.  Hoping in the health and wealth of this futile world can only bring dangers of hell, rather than the riches and treasure we have in Christ.  We should say, after cancer has eaten our flesh, after possessions have all been passed because of treatment payments, and we have no wealth and no health in this world, “Blessed be the God and Christ who will be my all surpassing treasure for all eternity.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul permalink
    February 6, 2008 11:46 pm

    Great ending to such a true message. I know you know this quote from John Piper but I will say it in light of this wonderful article. It says ” we should never expect on earth what God only promised for heaven.” I pray that those who are preaching a health/wealth gospel would begin by God’s grace, to concentrate their efforts on preaching Christ and him crucified and resurrected according to scripture and belief in His power to bring true health to the sick sinner, rather than using their time and energy preaching belief in one’s own faith with an emphasis on its amount.
    Thanks for the article and the time that you spend on this website. God is using both you and the site. Give Jena, Corrine, and Owen our love!

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