A Very Interesting Conversation

On Sunday I posted the John Piper video on the Health-Wealth Gospel to my facebook page, in case anyone missed it from the blog. As I mentioned on Sunday, I have several relatives that are raelly into the prosperity gospel…what I had forgotten was that they are on facebook as well. The following is a copy of our conversation that I thought you might enjoy reading. For clarity’s sake, Josh is a good friend from EBC, Linda is Amy’s aunt and Mark is Amy’s cousin who is a prosperity gospel pastor.

Josh Peterson at 9:35am February 2
good video!

Linda Boer at 1:07pm February 2
Bad video!!!!!!!

Linda Boer at 1:26pm February 2
How can we say we hate the prosperity and health message when the Bible teaches both

Drew Buell at 1:35pm February 2
I guess that’s really the issue Linda. Nowhere does the Scripture teach that God’s children are guaranteed health, welath or prosperity. To the contrary Jesus himself said, “the Son of man has no place to lay his head.” He was the child of an extremely poor family, brought up in a poor community and crucified as a common thief.

Linda Boer at 2:04pm February 2
Jesus bore my sicknesses and pain on the cross so thats a guarantee for me that his will is health!!!!!

Josh Peterson at 2:52pm February 2
Not to jump in on the conversation, but i believe he died for our SINS on the cross… not sickness and pain… His will is that i be sanctified, not healthy.

Linda Boer at 3:58pm February 2
Is. 53:4 says Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows which in the original Hebrew means sickness and pain.

Mark Boer at 4:58pm February 2
So, is it the will of God that we be sick and broke? Aren’t those listed as curses in the Old Testament? Wasn’t Jesus made a curse for us? How did Jesus respond to the sick in His earthly ministry? Did He ever turn someone down? Did He ever say it wasn’t His will or the will of the Father? How do we know the will of God? Jesus is the express image of the Father.

Drew Buell at 7:48pm February 2
Hey guys, sorry to be away from the conversation for so long but I had appointments all afternoon and just got the kids to bed. I think the best way for me to answer will be in a series of seperate posts addressed to each of you.First of all, Josh makes a great point that Christ’s death was to atone for our sins, not to take the pain out of life. Frankly to teach that the death of Christ was no more than a means to the end of removing pain and poverty from the lives of his people trivializes the crucifixion of Christian and makes Christ’s death of no more effect than the economic stimulus package (assuming that it works).

Drew Buell at 7:53pm February 2
Linda, I am glad to see you appealing to the original languages to make your case. It shows that you have a high regard for scripture, which is wonderful. However, in this case you have taken two Hebrew words (Halanu and Macebanu) and misapplied their meanings. It is true that these words can mean “sickness and pain” however these words can and frequently do mean “grief and sorrow”. Ultimately the context of the passage must determine its proper translation. In this case the context of the crucifixion as detailed in the second half of the verse makes “grief and sorrow” much more likely. However, even if these words are translated sickness and pain that doesn’t even come close to validating the prosperity gospel. The emphasis of Isa. 53 is the suffering servant suffering for our sins, in this case grief and pain (or sickness and sorrow) are the result of that sin which Christ’s death atoned for.Again, to look at the crucifixion as a means to my prosperity is to trivialize…

Drew Buell at 7:54pm February 2
the cross and polute the gospel

Drew Buell at 7:59pm February 2
Mark, of all the comments I have to say that I find yours the most confusing, so I will do my best to answer what I think you are asking.Your questions suffer from the dillema of false alternatives. You asked if it it is God’s will for us to be sick, if it’s not God’s will for us to be healthy. That’s like assuming that someone drives a BMW, just because they don’t drive a porsche. The point is that there are a lot more options than that. As John Piper talks about in the video, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, not in the things that He gives us.Secondly, just because sickness was occasionaly a curse in the OT, does not mean that all sickness is a curse. Again, very bad logic. Paul suffereing from a thorn in the flesh, yet it was an illness of some sort sent to him directly from God.Finally and most significantly, what you are proposing trivializes the cross. It makes the death of Christ a means to an end (the end being your own prosperity)…

Drew Buell at 7:59pm February 2
rather than the all consuming passion of one’s life.

Drew Buell at 8:06pm February 2
To everyone, here is my great concern with the prosperity gospel from a pastoral point of view. As a shepherd, it is unconsianable for me to think of telling a parent with a sick child that that child’s sickness can be cured by more faith. If that child is to die, this teaching makes the parents responsible, due to their lack of faith. What would you say to my niece who is suffering from significant issues with her colon and has to wear a bag right now? What would you say to my son who was in the hospital with crupe yesterday? The only hope for those suffering with sickness is the Savior who died to take away their sins and to one day make all things right that are wrong in this world.

Mark Boer at 8:20pm February 2
Drew, although it would be easy to show that healing is the will of God from Genesis to heaven, I chose to keep it very, very clear by pointing to the ministry of Jesus. He simply didn’t teach or do what you suggest – that sometimes sickness is good or comes from God. It is, in fact, always a curse. Only in church would a person believe the contrary. (I say that to our shame). How does acknowledging that healing and prosperity are part of the good news trivialize the cross? Have you considered how many times that the healing of the body and forgiveness of sins are mentioned in the same breath in the Word? Poverty and sickness didn’t even exist before sin came into the world. Does it not glorify God when we walk in the full benefits of His provision? (Psalm 103) What a tragedy it is if Jesus paid the price for an abundant life, yet all we agree to receive is part of it.You made the comment about scripture not guaranteeing health and prosperity…

Mark Boer at 8:24pm February 2
Well, it doesn’t guarantee salvation. What the Lord did was make provision for our lives – spirit, soul, and body. We do have a part to play in this. We must believe and receive what He has provided.There is so much more…Paul’s thorn…Sickness? Wow! Sent by God? Double Wow! (When did Jesus ever teach that?) I guess that can be a subject for another time.

Mark Boer at 8:30pm February 2
Ok…after reading your next post…let me just add that we should not get our understanding of God from what we see in others or have even experienced ourselves. You have to go outside of the words of Jesus to come to some of the conclusions that you have. What would we say to…parents, etc.? The question is, what would Jesus say? I want to say the same thing. And, even more than just saying – 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

Drew Buell at 9:38pm February 2
Mark, acknowledging that healing is part of the good news does not trivialize the cross, however what the prosperity gospel does is make the cross a means to the end of prosperity. The point is that the goal of your gospel is not a restored relationship with Christ, the goal is prosperity as something that you can get from Christ. That is a false gospel. Your gospel exalts prosperity and health over Christ.As you’ve already alluded to, there’s more here than either of us can fully address in a facebook conversation. I’ll simply comment on a few more things and call it a night.
As far as Paul’s thorn in the flesh, yeah wow!
As far as how you live out your theology in the hospital room, I suppose that I’ll have to leave that to you. As for me and my study of Scripture, I know exactly what Jesus would say and John Piper summarized it very well in the above video.

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February 03 2009 04:00 pm | Blog

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