by paul hoffmaster
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The Neo-Christian movement is a creation of man which has flourished in the Western Culture. Western Christianity has identified itself as a religion of self consumption and promotion. It is a movement that has coined the phrase “spiritual capitalism.” It is a religion of receiving instead of giving. It is a movement that displays financial success as the evidence of spiritual favor. What we have seen in our “Christian country” is the merging of the dollar sign and the cross. Christian prosperity is promoted while worldly famine and want is being ignored. The flag of financial prosperity is being flown over many congregations that promote the faith known as “self-ianity.” I believe that true Christianity is not a cultural phenomenon, but a movement that should be just as valid in the back roads of India as in the super highways of the United States. The Christian beliefs that are promoted in America should have equal emphasis and success in every part of the world, and if it doesn’t, then we have birthed a counterfeit Gospel. Whenever Christianity promotes financial aggressiveness to the point of anticipating a return of monetary wealth, it must also work for the Ethiopians and like cultures or something is wrong. Capitalism and the Cross seem to have joined together to make Western Christianity unique to the rest of the world. More and more people are being drawn to a gospel of financial success. Churches are filled to capacity when a teaching of financial security and stability is promoted. Messages abound with the claim that if you give financially with liberality, God will bless you with monetary significance. Some of these people have credit-carded and borrowed themselves into debt by irresponsible stewardship, and then they seek a Biblical message that will free them from their debt responsibility. Self-serving ministries entice debt ridden Believers into giving money in the hope of receiving financial freedom and untold wealth. To support their theories of financial sovereignty they surgically remove and promote Scriptures that are taken out of context. A wealthy “wanna-be” is urged to take the money that should be used to pay off their debt and seed it to a self promoting ministry. In so doing, the world is further encouraged to sneer at the Christians who do not honor their financial obligations.
How would this type of Christianity work in places like Pakistan, Uganda, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic? Western Christianity has promoted a faith that would be more conducive to the Apocrypha than to the Canonical Bible. How can American Christians promote financial prosperity when so many in the world are struggling to survive? We build comfort zones with our church structures, while others live in zones with little or no structures. Western Christians fill their gluttonous stomachs, while many Eastern cultures have a hard time filling their mouths.
The Church needs to redefine its mission. The Church is not a creation of Western Culture, but a world wide movement which presents and lives Biblical truths. The Gospel is to go into all the world and present Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Christianity is not a movement of self absorption, but a vessel in which the love of God is poured into us, so that we may, in turn, pour that love into others. We need to stand away from the mirror and look out the window, and not only see the needs of others, but also reach out and meet those needs. Let us move from self-indulgence to a diligence of serving each other.
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