Poverty Strongholds – Post Eight – Bad Theology
- Poor Stewardship – link to past article
- Lack of Knowledge (common sense)
- Mind Sets (faulty thinking)
- Lack of Holiness
- Agreements with the Enemy
- Bad Theology
- Blaming & Excuses
- Refusing to be a Blessing
- Pain Upon Pain
Today, let’s take a look at the 7th Poverty Stronghold – Bad Theology
Bad theology leads to many bad things. It is the root of all sorts of distortions and manipulations perpetrated by supposedly godly men and women. Here are just a few of the craziest things I have heard while overseas:
“The wealthier you are the holier you are.” (this is a literal quote from a Kampala city pastor)
“The woman with the seven husbands, well, she killed them all and what we take from this story is that the seed must be planted in the right place, and this is the right place for your seed, so tithe to this church and you will be blessed.”
“We must all change our names because Abram’s name was changed”
“Do not sleep at the wrong times because this was the cause of the Hebrews being in slavery for 400 years in Egypt.”
Even as I write this I hardly have words. I am astounded time and again at the kinds of bad theology that I come across in my work. But, I am also, often enough to note, just as astounded by the bad theology found at home. For instance:
“When the bad people go to hell you will be happy about this”
“God can only use you in proportion to how good your marriage is”
“I won’t serve God as He is asking, because this will reveal my pride”
Now, often bad theologies are derived from one verse without being balanced out with the remainder of scripture. Yet, we know that the entirety of scripture is necessary in order to avoid errors in thought. Consider this verse,
“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psalm 119:160
The pastor preaching about the sleep had started his message in Mark 13 where we are told to remain alert because Jesus is coming again one day. He must have looked up the word ‘sleep’, found all other passages about sleep and wove together this crazy story about how sleeping at the wrong times leads to many bad things. sigh …
The word of God is a holy trust to us. We must take it seriously and do the hard work of searching the scriptures and reading it and knowing it inside and out, so that we do not distort the heart of our Lord through our beliefs and sermons.
During my recent time in Uganda I was told about a group of Christians who believe that to study is wrong, and that to be ‘led by the spirit’ one must simply get up on stage on a Sunday and speak what the Spirit brings to mind — to do anything less than this, to study and prepare, is to disobey the Spirit. This is another bad theology.
It is taking this verse:
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 2 Corinthians 2:13
But not this verse:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:14
And perhaps we have never read that, “Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.” Ezra 7:10
So, how does all this apply to poverty? Well, when we have faulty foundation of thinking and of understanding who God is we will either take advantage of other people, or we will be taken advantage of, either of which contribute to strongholds of poverty in our lives.
Our thinking establishes our starting place for action. If I believe, for instance, that sickness is the natural result of sin in our lives then I may not have faith or a desire to pray healing. If I believe, for instance, that God is a god of recompense and demands dues given, then I will not have the theological underpinnings to declare healing for others (unless they prove they are worthy of healing, to me and in context of my paradigm).
But, if I believe that God delights to heal us, that Jesus has covered over every sin and that there are no set-conditions on the healing of the Lord then I will have both the faith but also the strength of will, so to speak, (I won’t have an divided heart and mind),and great freedom to pray and to see healing for anyone I come in contact with. Theology matters.
We can discern distinctions in our thoughts by taking our ‘assumptions’ about God and how the world works to their farthest logical conclusion. When we exaggerate a belief (often letter of the law thinking without an understanding of the spirit of the law) we can see if it results as either the fruit of the Lord (all manner of good things within our hearts and minds unto others) or the fruit of the enemy (all manner of hateful, pinched and narrow reckonings for others).
Here are a few examples of these types of distortions:
“Submit to your husband” has resulted in women becoming accomplices to all manner of deadly life choices and even criminal activity.
“Obey your leaders” has resulted in childish adults who can only do what they are told and who have no thought or action for themselves and often no sense of freedom regarding following or obeying the call of God.
“You must tithe here and now” results in the powerful and charismatic ‘eating’ the poor woman’s meal. Literally, pastors come in, preach health and wealth, demand a tithe because ‘now God will bless you’, and they go home with riches and the poor are left even poorer. (NOTE: This, should make us angry.)
Perhaps we sum all this up by quoting Jesus,
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for pretence you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.” Matthew 23:13-14
We don’t want that, we want this:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3