A Teaching More Dangerous than the Prosperity Gospel

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We all have seen how many people twist the gospel to tell people to do things that are unbiblical. We have seen some ministers of the “gospel” ask millions of dollars to fund jets, lavish lifestyle and extravagant excesses in the name of Jesus.

In the Philippines, we have seen the self-appointed Son of God from Davao build an empire and his kingdom using and twisting Scripture to make people serve him instead of Jesus (or in his case, himself since he proclaimed to be Jesus).

But this blog is not about the “prosperity gospel” that many have come to despise and attack. This is about a teaching that is far more dangerous than the prosperity gospel. There might even be a direct link between the two teachings permeating churches around the world today. People like Quiboloy and other cults have used legalism to control people to serve their own purpose and not Gods.

I’m talking about legalism – a concept that Jesus and the apostle Paul vehemently attacked and despised with a passion. A kind of religion that tells you to do things to gain God’s approval. Teaching that takes pride in what we do rather than what Christ did for us. A kind of teaching that can lead to many distortions of the gospel and faith living because of its root. But legalism is not only used by prosperity preachers – “give to the ministry and then God will bless you more” but is also used by people who are against the prosperity gospel. How? With the spirit and attitude that is behind both? Many who have attacked teachings do so in the spirit of legalism instead of Christ’s love.

Whether it’s a theological camp who thinks that they have all the answers exudes legalism. Or a church that believes we have the best strategy to win the world is legalism. Things done without God’s grace is legalism. Even the proponent of radical grace that teaches that you don’t need to repent fall into the trap of legalism by telling people that if you don’t believe what we espouse, then you are not under God’s grace.

So I’m not calling out any camps here, but I’m calling out our hearts no matter where we are in our walk with Jesus. In my thirty years as a Christian, I had to struggle and wrestle with many teachings and theologies. I have experienced being the hardcore of theological camps and also the victim of hardcore online theologians. I have pastors and friends who have been attacked because of what they said in the pulpit that in most cases are taken out of context and done outside the context of community. It has wounded and hurt the body of Christ.

I love how our pastor Steve Murrell told us as pastors of Victory; we do theology together. We study and search the Scripture together. We mature in areas where we were immature before. I have to rethink, retract, reconsider some of my theological stands before (since I have a firm belief of things), many I have asked forgiveness for not because I was wrong but because I was immature resulting in legalism. Sad to say, many who have moved in legalism has burned godly relationships all in the name of theology. The major doctrines of Scripture should unite us and not divide us. The minor doctrines of Scripture should be given room for healthy conversations among churches and not fights.

Throughout history, we have seen how the devil used legalism to divide churches and movements. I may be hoping for the perfect world where I am not afraid to discuss and have mature, godly theological conversations with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who I know I’ll meet in heaven. I am hopeful. I pray that I’ll be able to see a united body of Christ from different camps ( Pentecostals, Charismatics, Baptist, Evangelicals, Reformed, and the many others) who might have distinct minor theological differences and have a healthy conversation with them of the challenges we face in engaging our world with the gospel.

Here is a message I preached on being sanctified in the Spirit of God. I hope this message creates healing among all of us.




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