What did Jesus mean by “that they may have life more abundantly”

In this thread S&P mentioned that a CCC Pastor encouraged everyone to write a miracle they would like God to do for them, on a card as they gave money.

Written on the cards were things like “Hot wife”, “long holiday”, “new car” etc. etc.

FL appeared to justify this by saying Jesus had come “That they might have life, and that they might have life more abundantly”.  He mentioned that one has to look up the Greek word for abundance – FL maybe you could share with us.

Is this the abundance that Jesus was talking about?  In seeking these things, does one  cut themselves off from other members of the body?  Or do these riches and comforts advance the kingdom, and the spiritual life?

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65 thoughts on “What did Jesus mean by “that they may have life more abundantly”

  1. Am looking forward to commenting more on this later – but the first question it brings to my mind is, what is Jesus talking about when he uses the word ‘life’?

    To have more life abundantly, we need to know what life is. We know we find life in him. It was possible to live in the world but be dead.

    I like your choice of picture, wazza!

  2. That was rather unkind to make that connection, to say the least, wazza2.

    I’ll state here categorically that the things written on those cards were abhorrently selfish, and nothing to do with what Jesus was saying, and I would also be in shock if any of our congregants wrote them down as requests from God. I would immediately point out the problem with what was being requested.

    In fact, I doubt that it would happen in our church, unless there were people present who were not actually Christians and were mocking the intent of the speaker.

    I was in no way condoning the excessive requests of those who filled out the cards. I was referencing the abhorrence towards the idea that God, in any way, prospers his people.

    I hope you’ll revise what you say in the post having read this.
    ••••••••••••••••••••

    Secondly, What is the context of the event where the cards were filled out? Who was the minister? What kind of event was it? Was it a one-off, or a regular occurrence? When did it take place? Who is the source of the information? Was there a large congregation, and were there people present who were not aware of what was being asked for?
    ••••••••••••••••••••

    My reference to what Jesus said was in terms of a balanced idea of what abundant life is. If you say Jesus only considers a poverty gospel to be holy, then you misrepresent scripture. I agree that Jesus doesn’t teach an excess gospel either.

    My belief is that God is interested in our well-being, body, soul and spirit, and that it is his will for us to be healthy, prosperous and in a position to be generous, but that it is not always the way things will be in this world, since it is a fallen world, filled with temptations, especially greed, avarice and covetousness, which destroy people’s lives, so, excessive personal wealth should not be our focus, neither should we pursue personal riches as evidence of success, or as goal in life. We are to learn to be abased and abound and remain contented, for godliness with contentment is great gain.

    Prosperity is a theme throughout scripture, but it has been misrepresented and abused by some ministries, both by those which teach excess, and those who teach abstinence. But to completely deny that God promises prosperity as part of the blessing of Abraham, is also wrong. To make the idea of a person being simultaneously prosperous and a good Christian error is in itself error.

    Otherwise, many Australian Christians are in error, since we are abundantly rich compared to people in other nations, and therefore, wretched.
    ••••••••••••••••••••••

    Jesus was speaking of sheep in the pasture and the role of a Pastor when he promised life and that more abundant. What would be abundant living for a sheep? Read Psalms 23 and you will see the answer.

  3. A system that comes promising “health and prosperity” is the opposite to what the gospel offers us.

    Jesus said, “If you’re not willing to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy to be my disciple,”

    Matthew 8:18-22 “Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

    In other words he said I don’t want you on the terms that you are looking for i.e. comfort. I want you on the terms that you are going to abandon comfort.

    These men are approaching Jesus and being rejected.

    It is the very opposite “gospel” to what Jesus offered.

  4. “Prosperity Preaching: Deceitful and Deadly”

    By John Piper February 14, 2007

    When I read about prosperity-preaching churches, my response is: “If I were not on the inside of Christianity, I wouldn’t want in.” In other words, if this is the message of Jesus, no thank you.

    Luring people to Christ to get rich is both deceitful and deadly. It’s deceitful because when Jesus himself called us, he said things like: “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). And it’s deadly because the desire to be rich plunges “people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). So here is my plea to preachers of the gospel.

    1. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that makes it harder for people to get into heaven.

    Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” His disciples were astonished, as many in the “prosperity” movement should be. So Jesus went on to raise their astonishment even higher by saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They respond in disbelief: “Then who can be saved?” Jesus says, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:23-27).

    My question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a ministry focus that makes it harder for people to enter heaven?

    2. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that kindles suicidal desires in people.

    Paul said, “There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” But then he warned against the desire to be rich. And by implication, he warned against preachers who stir up the desire to be rich instead of helping people get rid of it. He warned, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

    So my question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a ministry that encourages people to pierce themselves with many pangs and plunge themselves into ruin and destruction?

    3. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that encourages vulnerability to moth and rust.

    Jesus warns against the effort to lay up treasures on earth. That is, he tells us to be givers, not keepers. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).

    Yes, we all keep something. But given the built-in tendency toward greed in all of us, why would we take the focus off Jesus and turn it upside down?

    4. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that makes hard work a means of amassing wealth.

    Paul said we should not steal. The alternative was hard work with our own hands. But the main purpose was not merely to hoard or even to have. The purpose was “to have to give.” “Let him labor, working with his hands, that he may have to give to him who is in need” (Ephesians 4:28). This is not a justification for being rich in order to give more. It is a call to make more and keep less so you can give more. There is no reason why a person who makes $200,000 should live any differently from the way a person who makes $80,000 lives. Find a wartime lifestyle; cap your expenditures; then give the rest away.

    Why would you want to encourage people to think that they should possess wealth in order to be a lavish giver? Why not encourage them to keep their lives more simple and be an even more lavish giver? Would that not add to their generosity a strong testimony that Christ, and not possessions, is their treasure?

    5. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that promotes less faith in the promises of God to be for us what money can’t be.

    The reason the writer to the Hebrews tells us to be content with what we have is that the opposite implies less faith in the promises of God. He says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

    If the Bible tells us that being content with what we have honors the promise of God never to forsake us, why would we want to teach people to want to be rich?

    6. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that contributes to your people being choked to death.

    Jesus warns that the word of God, which is meant to give us life, can be choked off from any effectiveness by riches. He says it is like a seed that grows up among thorns that choke it to death: “They are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the . . . riches . . . of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).

    Why would we want to encourage people to pursue the very thing that Jesus warns will choke us to death?

    7. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that takes the seasoning out of the salt and puts the light under a basket.

    What is it about Christians that makes them the salt of the earth and the light of the world? It is not wealth. The desire for wealth and the pursuit of wealth tastes and looks just like the world. It does not offer the world anything different from what it already believes in. The great tragedy of prosperity-preaching is that a person does not have to be spiritually awakened in order to embrace it; one needs only to be greedy. Getting rich in the name of Jesus is not the salt of the earth or the light of the world. In this, the world simply sees a reflection of itself. And if it works, they will buy it.

    The context of Jesus’ saying shows us what the salt and light are. They are the joyful willingness to suffering for Christ. Here is what Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:11-14).

    What will make the world taste (the salt) and see (the light) of Christ in us is not that we love wealth the same way they do. Rather, it will be the willingness and the ability of Christians to love others through suffering, all the while rejoicing because their reward is in heaven with Jesus. This is inexplicable on human terms. This is supernatural. But to attract people with promises of prosperity is simply natural. It is not the message of Jesus. It is not what he died to achieve.

    © Desiring God

  5. RP – that is a good point. The key here is probably to find out what Jesus meant by “life”. In the scripture quoted by Teddy he says “leave the dead to bury their own dead”, so clearly he is talking there about a life that is different from the general life of others in society.

    ————————-

    FL – I am relieved that you have cleared up the issue with the requests on the cards. I too find them abhorently selfish. I accept that you were quoting that in order to get a balanced view.

    However in view of the fact that no-one on this blog has ever promoted a “poverty”-gospel, ie. gone to extremes to promote rules about poverty and denial, I wonder why you felt the need to redress the balance in that way? On the one hand you have an extreme example of selfishness in requesting prosperity from God. On the other, you have a reasonable view of Christian relationship with God and His provision. Why did you feel the need to “balance” the discussion on the Properity side?

  6. In a recent sermon Hillsong’s Brian Houston claimed, if i recall correctly, that in the original Greek ‘Peace’ and ‘Prosperity’ have the same meaning. So whenever Jesus said peace he also meant to prosper.

    Anyone else heard this argument?

  7. Could it be that to have peace is to prosper? Rather than the other way around. After all, elsewhere the bible is clear that riches can bring ‘pangs’ and worries, the opposite of peace. (Not that this is inevitable, but it depends on our attitude and other things.)

    If to have peace is to prosper, and Jesus gives us peace, then we become rich without necessarily receiving another penny.

    All the same, the Bible doesn’t seem to me to teach that we are meant to struggle financially, any more than it teaches that we should aspire to material wealth. I do think that regarding material things, the Bible does teach that we shouldn’t rely on them. So we may be poor in one season and rich in another, knowing that all this can change, and our true wealth is our relationship with Him.

    Later, I’ll have to come back to this, to talk about ‘life’.

  8. Very well put RavingPente.
    This is something old Zeppelin might be interested in. I might e-mail this discussion onto him.

  9. Maybe off-topic, but “Peace” (Shalom in Hebrew, Pax in Latin) has meanings of welfare and prosperity in that sense.

    It also comes from the same root as “To Pay”. There is no Peace without payment of some kind. When its paid-for then there is Peace. Jesus paid the price.

  10. wazza2, I was exploring the issue from the perspective of what options there are, not really saying anyone here is a poverty gospel proponent.

    Perhaps I was overreacting slightly to the idea that preaching any form of prosperity gospel is defined, by some, as preaching another Jesus. The inclusion of Jesus’ words on abundant living was a balancing point.

    Unfortunately some perfectly good terms have been demonised, such as ‘fundamental’ -‘forming the necessary base or core; of central importance'; and ‘prosper’ – ‘successful, flourishing’, partly as a result, I’ll admit, of those who have been excessive, but also as a result of those who deny the truths inherent in them.

    But the problem now is, where do we find Biblical descriptors which will commonly replace those which have become synonymous with excess?

  11. What about ill people?

    What about poor people?

    What about mature believers who find they have cancer or their loved one is paralysed etc.

    Eventually we all die.

    Shalom

  12. It is a mistake to believe that the coming Kingdom of God will be purely an ephemeral and spiritual realm. The Garden of Eden was a material and physical world. Christ’s resurrection was a physical and imperishable one. Finally the book of Revelations speaks of both a new heaven and new earth being re-created.

    But the problem with this fallen world is that the spiritual reality is out of a sync with the physical one. The righteous perish and the wicked appear to prosper. The fall of Man resulted in the greatest divine outrage of history, the Son of God had to die for Man’s sin. This of course will resolve itself when the old creation passes away and be replaced with a new eternal one . In the meantime, we asked to remain faithful regardless of whatever may come our way and be thankful for whatever we receive.

  13. It comes down to Eschatology.

    Do we believe in the physical return of Jesus of Nazareth to Planet Earth?

    (I don’t really care about whether someone is pre, mid or post-trib!)

    Will there be a (future) rapture?
    Will there be a (future) tribulation?
    Will Jesus physically return to reign?

    or

    Will there be a great big end-times revival?
    Will Jesus be manifested amongst his followers and this be the second coming?
    Will human beings become physically perfected and be known as the new breed? (physical and material well-being)

    I am not saying the prosperity proponents believe the latter … but I am saying that prosperity theology could lead a number of people there. The mind-set is preconditioned to go down the NAR/Latter-Rain path, which is why so many Americans have swallowed that tosh.

    I have already intimated that I do not think that the 12 Apostles lorded it over the early church … in fact it was the presiding Elder of the Jerusalem church who judged a dispute between Peter and Paul.

    James the Just was not considered an Apostle, even though he was a son of Mary and Joseph.

    He was not a missionary.

    FL and I can disagree on the roles and rigidity of the leadership structure but I am sounding a warning here. Do not put too much faith in traveling ‘apostles’. Rather, test absolutely everything, particularly what I say, through the Bible.

    Stay well away from the NAR … the latter-rain, which was declared a heresy by the AOG in the 1950’s has fully leavened the so called ‘prophetic’ movement in the USA. I am afraid we are in a battle for the truth of God’s word over the unbiblical decrees of men.

    May our Heavenly Father help us preserve the truth once delivered to the saints.

    The truth of who Jesus is. The truth of the resurrection. The truth of the crucifixion. The truth of the virgin birth. The truth that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. The truth that Jesus is coming back, the SAME way that He left. The truth that we are to believe and be baptised for the forgiveness of our sins. The truth that the Bible is God’s revealed word.

    ALL of these truths are under threat. DOMINIONISM will do away with them in exchange for power over men.

    Those disciples who cling onto these truths will come under severe persecution … they will be called divisive, they will be called a stumbling block, they will be called rebellious. Peter Wagner would call me a rebel, for rejecting that he has any authority over me, for example. Matt Ford accused us of witchy prayer … didn’t he? Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

    If that isn’t NAR elitism at work, I do not know what is.

    The old “prosperity gospel” fight is over. FL doesn’t subscribe to the extremes we’ve accused him of. He doesn’t advocate them. FL is, if anything, “prosperity gospel”-lite.

    The biggest fight for the spiritual life of the pentecostal stream is against the NAR. If anyone thinks I am over-egging this … well, they are entitled to their opinion. One by one, the truths mentioned above will be glossed over. They will be pushed to the background and quietly forgotten.

    It may take 20 years. But it will happen.

    This is good news. Why? Because God himself will find those who do not compromise and who will not give way on the truth, no matter the cost. Then the Gospel will be preached with integrity. And people will be saved … in the face of terrible persecution.

    Welcome to China.

    It is becoming a nation of disciples of Jesus!

    You are allowed to whisper Hallelujah!

    Shalom

  14. When Benny Hinn also came to C3. He told the C3 congregation to do the same thing for that: write out what you want God to give you in exchange for what you give him.

    It’s happened more than once at C3.

  15. My bible-study friend (now ex-C3) attended the last Benny Hinn visit at Oxford Falls. Someone took a photo and was publically rebuked and the people were told the “anointing” had gone.

    The people were forbidden then to move or even go to the toilet! (Which promptly made my friend and her sister to uncontrollably giggle and want to go – it’s a girl thing.)

    I wonder then (sarcasm) who is responsible for all the pictures of the man in white ministering under the “anointing”, displayed everywhere i.e. his website, his itinerary, posters, flyers etc.

    Were you there Specks?

  16. The ‘anointing’ disappeared because someone took a photo? Forbidden to move or go to the toilet? If I’d been there, I would have been pretty entertained by that too.

    As for writing what you want from God on miracle offering envelopes – that’s only one step forward from what has always been taught or implied with these offerings, including when I was present there over a decade ago. I remember the implication. If you gave, you would receive – even your hearts desire, whatever that was. Some friends of mine recently joked that the quality of their future husbands would depend on what they put into the miracle offering – do you want a $50 man or a $100 man? They were joking, but people gave generously for years, imagining that God would return the generosity in the way they desired, and that if they didn’t give, He might not. On the other hand, I know people who go there who think that if you believe that’s how it works, you are just silly, and taking things a bit too far. So they are not disturbed by it. I think that this is taught, and writing the item down on the envelope is just a way of getting people to give more, as well as leading them down a superstitious path and misunderstanding the gospel.

    For the record, I also believe that God answers our prayers, including for various material things/events at times. But not because we earn it in any way by giving. Giving is good, but not manipulating people to give.

  17. Re the NAR – I do know a number of people interested in this movement, as an alternative to C3. Because its Pentecostal, it is seen as a stream to consider if their home churches are places of discontent in some areas. It’s not promoted by their current church leadership, but it seems to them to offer either complementary teaching, or alternative gathering places (including internet congregations).

    I think this shows that a discussion on apostles and prophets, and how to recognise their leadership or reject their claimed authority is worthwhile. People need to read scripture for themselves, and learn how to measure a prophet or ‘apostle’ by it. Then they need to learn that its OK to reject their authority in accordance with scripture.

    For example, visions that adjust the message of the NT can be freely rejected, and there is no judgement upon us for doing this.

    Learning to rely on our personal relationship with the Lord, rather than whatever is supplied via a ‘prophet’ or ‘apostle’ is good. Learning how to test any prophecies we are given, against both scripture, and whatever we have learnt in our own private time with the Lord, in line with scripture.

  18. John 10
    9* “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
    10* “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
    11* “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
    12* “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.
    13* “The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.
    14* “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
    15 “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
    16* “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

    More abundantly:
    4053 perissov perissos {per-is-sos’}

    from 4012 (in the sense of beyond); TDNT – 6:61,828; adj

    AV – more 2, beyond measure 1, vehemently + 1537 1, more abundantly 1,
    advantage 1, superfluous 1, very highly + 5228 + 1537 1,
    exceeding abundantly above + 5228 + 1537 1,
    exceeding + 5228 + 1537 1; 10

    1) exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
    1a) over and above, more than is necessary, superadded
    1a1) exceeding abundantly, supremely
    1a2) something further, more, much more than all, more plainly
    1b) superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommon
    1b1) pre-eminence, superiority, advantage, more eminent,
    more remarkable, more excellent

    The comparison in verse 10 is between what the thief does and what the good shepherd does. The thief steals, kills, and destroys. The shepherd gives life, and life more abundant.

    So what does the thief steal? What does he kill? What does he destroy? And how?

    The good shepherd cares for the sheep. What kind of care would a good shepherd give the sheep?

    Psalms 23
    1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
    3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
    4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
    5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
    6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

  19. Re-eschatology: of course this is important, and we should develop a good understanding of why we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    But in terms of our relationship with our Chief Shepherd, Christ Jesus, we are here, in this earth, now, and he cares for us now, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Our primary objective for now is to be a co-worker with Christ in winning the lost, making disciples of all nations, and heralding the kingdom, and the necessity of repentance to enter the kingdom of all we meet.

    So Jesus takes care of us now, in this time, in this present age, where we are, whatever we are doing, as long as it is kingdom business. Everything we need will be added unto us, as long as we seek first his kingdom and righteousness.

    In this, Jesus says we are to ‘take no thought’, not be afraid, not be fearful. In terms of what will happen on the earth as pointers to the end times, eschatological signs, the tests, trials and tribulations, such as wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes, epidemics, etc, he says we are not to be concerned about them, but to continue to ‘occupy’, or ‘trade’, until he comes; that is, effectively publish the gospel.

    The saints of God living on earth today are the greatest resource, after the Spirit of Christ in publishing the gospel effectively. In this we will prosper and have good success if we do not faint.

  20. “So Jesus takes care of us now, in this time………………….,as long as it is kingdom business”?

    I think “as long as it is kingdom business” needs some biblical clarification. Aren’t we supposed to do everything “as unto the Lord?”

  21. “Were you there Specks?”

    Sure was.
    But talking to people who I knew on the stage, they were knocked down by a ‘presence’. They said it was of God – but meeting up again with them in the week, I found them to be more troubled then blessed.

    It wasn’t conviction either – they were really disturbed, but they believed it was God doing something in them – just not sure what. Looking back, I don’t know why God would ‘trouble’ his children like that. I have had God trouble me – more in the sense of rebuking and challenging me to grow – but I know what I was troubled about. Friends at C3 couldn’t exactly explain it.

    I personally think it’s not a godly spirit that operates through Hinn. I’ve been spiritually attacked before and that’s what they seem to described to me what they were experiencing. It made me more wary in who lays hands on me.

  22. Absolutely agree with you re that “presence”.

    A friend suffers from serious depression after allowing himself to come under that sort of thing. PP would yell “fire” and he would run maniacally around the auditorium as the church laughed. It was horrible because I laughed too, may God forgive me.

  23. FL “the thief steals, kills and destroys. The shepherd gives life and life more abundant …

    So what does the thief steal?”

    It seems to me that he dosent steal their actual physical life, or their lifestyle as such. He steals their peace, their relationships with others and with God, and their salvation. This is the life that is being killed.

    So when Jesus says he gives life and life more abundantly, he is probably not talking about their physical life or their “lifestyle”. What he is talking about is the spiritual life.

    The greek translation for “more abundantly” can mean exceeding some measure, but also can mean a superior or extraordinary life – ie. another life that is over and above our ordinary day to day existence.

  24. The presence of God would have us falling on our face in fear and worship, that’s biblical. Falling back was a sign, in a sense, of judgement i.e. Jesus’ words to those who came to arrest Him in the garden of Gethsemane.

  25. I was going to use the same verse Facelift! :)

    As someone from C3 pointed out to me in a revelation they got from God last year in opening their eyes to C3’s prosperity gospel:

    Psalms 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall NOT WANT.

    To me, to be prosperous is to know what we have in God. Thing’s that moth and rust consume do not delight, satisfy or fulfill the cravings of our soul – but the love and grace of God does.

    If the Shepherd leads we shall want no more.We shall no longer thirst if we have drunk the Living Water. We shall no longer hunger if we have eaten from the Bread of Life. And if the Wisdom of proverbs is living in us, then that is greater than rubies and gold. The poor and weak will testify to this: “Let the weak say I am strong let the poor say I am rich”.

    When we hear from God and speak or apply what he tells us to do in our circumstances in front of others – people do see His wisdom in us. If you go to a third world country, if you operate out of wisdom – they automatically assume you are rich because of where you got your education from.

    They see that good wisdom leads to good and long life. I would say prosperity is a practical lifestyle – not necessarily easy living – but honest living equipped with practical wisdom. If we live out of the satisfaction we have in God and walk in His practical wisdom of the Spirit, then truly that is prosperous living – whether that Christian has money or not.

    That’s what I believe all Christian’s have and what Christian’s should be taught true prosperity should be.

  26. I can conclude that what we feed our spirit is what leads to prosperous living.

    Materialism leads us to poverty – but with God’s Spirit, we remain alive and prosperous in Him. He actually reveals to us what we can do without, more than what we can do with. His Spirit indeed teaches us that man relies on more than bread alone.

    I think the sin is with prosperity teachers is their manipulative tactics to get people to pick up their crucified flesh and activate their sinful cravings to desire wealth and materialism. To me this goes against the gospel and Spirit of God. The spirit tells us to be fulfilled and satisfied in Him – teachers and apostles tell us to crave MORE of God next sunday, ask MORE of God when giving their finance and beg MORE of God when people commit themselves to church institution ministries.

  27. Well a ‘more abundant life’ is in fact eternal life.

    John 10
    27* “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
    28* “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

    But you can’t restrict God’s provision to spiritual prosperity. He is interested in the whole person, body, soul and spirit.

    1 Peter 2
    24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.
    25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

    He is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls as well as the Regenerator of our spirit (Titus 3:5).

    He has provided healing. Some say this refers to spiritual healing, but if the spirit is born again of His Spirit, why does it need healing? It is healed the day we are saved. It isn’t prone to sickness or disease as the body is, or oppression, depression or suppression as the soul is, the soul being the mind, will, and senses. The regenerated spirit is alive to God.

    1 Thessalonians 5
    23 ¶ Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    God’s provision is holistic. If you limit it to the spirit alone you say God has no interest in our physical or mental state, which Jesus clearly demonstrated to be untrue. No one in his earthly walk, could have had their spirit healed, since he was not yet glorified.

    No he showed the will of the father to meet our needs, body and soul. Otherwise, why did he bother healing people, and delivering them? He didn’t heal their spirits, which were dead to God through sin, until Jesus was raised. He healed their bodies. He delivered people from the oppression of the devil. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. With his stripes we were healed.

    2 Peter 1
    2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
    3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
    4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    Life and godliness, not just godliness, so not just the spirit, but also everything that pertains to life, and this life, since we are alive, now, we have life, now.We have even entered into the eternal life Jesus promised as the good shepherd.

    Who ‘has’ given us all ‘things’ that pertain to life and godliness. ‘Has’ is present tense, so now, not just in the future. ‘All things’, so not just spiritual things, things which pertain to everyday living, to our present situation and conditions.

  28. Why is it FL, that you are more capable (on this blog)of representing Christ scripturally, contextually, and historically than most C3 pastors?. If you were, or are, in any way involved, with C3, you would eventually find yourself butting heads with certain methodologies or, at the very least, their pragmatism.

    Not that I agree with everything you say. :)

  29. Once again. You missed the point to what I was saying Facelift. You’re really good at getting on my nerves.

  30. :-)

    s&p,
    ‘I can conclude that what we feed our spirit is what leads to prosperous living.’

    That may have some merit, but compare this to:

    3 John
    2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

    Where, ‘just as’, in the KJV is, ‘according to’, Greek; ‘kathos’, ‘in proportion to’, or ‘since, seeing that’.

    So is he saying that we prosper in all things and are in health to the proportion that our soul is prospering?

    I know some people claim this is just a nice greeting, like ‘shalom’, but, ‘all scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable to us’, so, given this, how does our soul prosper, and to what degree do we prosper and live in health, as our soul prospers?

  31. s&p,
    ”Once again. You missed the point to what I was saying Facelift. You’re really good at getting on my nerves.’

    I’m sorry. I wasn’t really responding to your comments, which are valid, more to wazza’s if anyone. It was a general observation in response to the idea that healing, prosperity and well-being are considered by some teachers as in reference to the spirit only.

  32. But no one has advanced that view FL, so why are you responding to it? Your arguments are scriptural but you constantly re-frame the premises of the argument so that you only get the conclusions you want.

    You were the one who gave the scripture that this post is about : “that they may have life more abundantly” – this was used to justify a prosperity gospel. This scripture is often used by Prosperity preachers. After examining it we both agree that Jesus was talking principally about the eternal life. But instead of acknowledging the point, you go off fighting shadows.

  33. wazza2, you said:
    ‘So when Jesus says he gives life and life more abundantly, he is probably not talking about their physical life or their “lifestyle”. What he is talking about is the spiritual life.’

    So, by my understanding of what you said, you did advance that view! I responded with scriptural which indicates God is also interested and involved in the well-being of the soul and body.

    In fact I referenced abundant life as being connected with the free gift of eternal life.

    The question you will have to answer is when eternal life begins. At salvation, here on earth, or when we are caught up to be with him, during the millennium, or at the end of the millennium.
    •••••••••••••••••••••

    I think you’re being far too finicky about how a thread evolves. I don’t attempt to set up straw-men, as you claim, or detour a discussion into an argument. I add what I believe is appropriate. I think you’ve done the same many times.

    Goodness, we’ve been into Benny Hinn, Eschatology, definitions of ‘peace’, and a number of other areas on this thread alone. I think I brought it back on thread a couple of times.

  34. “Is this the abundance that Jesus was talking about? In seeking these things, does one cut themselves off from other members of the body? Or do these riches and comforts advance the kingdom, and the spiritual life?”

    Looking back at that original question – my answer, for what its worth.

    1. Is this the abundance that Jesus was talking about.
    Answer: No. Clearly he is talking about things that bring more abundant _life_, not a more comfortable life, or he would have said that. Clearly, the life Jesus talks of is our eternal life, real life, which we find in relationship with our Father, through and in Jesus. To not have this, is death. And the life He gives us starts once we are born again. Our old man dies. As we are born again as infants, and mature in Him, we grow into our new life in Him, and have life more abundantly. We can at any time choose to walk in His life, or not to. To walk in His life, we abide in Him. When we abide in ourselves, or the world, and not in Him, we are not walking in the life of the Kingdom, and will not experience abundant life. However, to the extent that we walk in Him, over time we will experience His life more abundantly.

    Hope that’s not too esoteric for any uninitiated readers who stumble across it!

    When God supplies our physical needs, that is sustaining our physical lives, but the abundant life is in the relationship we have with Him, not the material things in themselves. So if we don’t have those material things, we still have abundant life in him, even if there is a season of physical want. Not that I am wishing that upon anyone, and naturally, I would wish that all here do prosper in all ways including the physical. However, material blessing is not ‘abundant life’.

    We will have abundant life when we live in Him, in that it will overflow out of us. The effects of the life He gives us will go beyond ourselves. We have enough life to sustain our own souls, but also to encourage and support others, in every possible way. We do not lack life, regardless of what we go through.

    So Bull, when suffering because of the NAR, you will have abundant life, as you live in Him, regardless of your circumstances. :) Sounds impossible, but I guess it is in the hard times when we really find out what abundant life is, by his sustenance of our faith. I hope none of us have to find this out to an extreme. I guess that the point is, the life He gives us is abundant, so there is enough – even in these extremes.

    2. In seeking these things, does one cut themselves off from other members of the body?

    Yes, one can do, if we put attaining these things before relationships or other things that God has called us into. I think its a matter of where our treasure is.

    3. Or do these riches and comforts advance the kingdom, and the spiritual life?”

    There might be circumstances when riches and comforts do advance the kingdom. It depends how they are used. For example, a long holiday might be what family relationships need at times, if that is possible. A holiday home might be offered to others who need a rest or retreat, for little or no personal gain. So there are times when material things can be used to bless those around us, in service to the kingdom. I wouldn’t want to get too legalistic about it. At the same time, if acquiring these things becomes our idol, then we have missed the path that leads to life.

  35. A lot of replies, and have only gotten through the first couple, but this comment from Teddy simply had to be responded to – “A system that comes promising “health and prosperity” is the opposite to what the gospel offers us.” Not sure what gospel you are referring to Teddy, but it sure aint the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Whilst I certainly admit that many prosperity teachers have got it wrong, and there is an emphasis on works to gain “stuff”, I have to ask, what kind of a God would want His children to be sick, poor and struggling through life, and why would anyone want to follow Him? Just one quick example that will prove your comment to be ill-informed – the word “salvation” in the Greek is sodzo which means to “protect”, “preserve”, “heal”, “deliver”, “become whole”, or, to “keep safe”. I recommend to everyone here to study the word diligently and rightly before pronouncing judgement.

    Now, to read the rest of the comments….

  36. God is known to us as our Father.

    I’m a father. I don’t leave my children here on earth to tough it out with a promise that everything will be better when they die! I make sacrifices if necessary to ensure their well-being. They go through the good times and the tough times with us, but through it all we guard, keep and protect them. The day comes soon enough when they stand on their own two feet and face the world, but whilst they’re under my roof they will be cared for. That is the heart of a father.

    Is God a Father who cares for us now, or is his promise only for the distant future? Is he really only interested in our spiritual well-being?

    Jesus promises that the Father will take care of our needs, just like he does for his creation. He feeds the sparrow, and clothes the lily. He will not leave us little orphans.

    The gospel offers us good news. That’s what ‘gospel’ means. Good news of glad tidings.

  37. XC3 …What did Jesus say about the cost of being a disciple, it was literally dying to self. Who was he talking too? Look at the context of my comment, men wanted to follow Him, but were not prepared to count the cost!

    We so quickly make application and claim scriptures for ourselves, I have too. But we have to look the verses in their context first, not just one verse “strip-mined” out of the chapter.

    We don’t always have health and prosperity – in fact if we look at the Christian community world wide there are many in great poverty with its accompanying sickness. How many Christians died in Haiti? The tsunami? Missionaries died there too.

    I think we all really know what the scriptures and God’s promises mean – it’s this current “prosperity” culture/system in churches that blinds us to the eternal realities of those promises we have in Him. The persecuted church is not having their “best life now” either.

    So XC3 – look at the context of my remark. You’ve kept me from from my first shot of coffee!! :(

  38. And by the way, we “meander” here. One of this blog’s charms! We need a little stream in the logo, perhaps some fishing poles. Some butterflies……..some coffee!!

  39. “Something is valuable to you to the degree that you’re willing to suffer in order to have it, not to the degree that it gives you other things that you really like. God is not shown to be valuable because he gives us other things that we like more than God. God is shown to be valuable when we’re willing, for God’s sake, to let certain things go which we wouldn’t let go if he wasn’t so precious to us.

    Our testimony to the world works precisely opposite to what the prosperity gospel says. When Christians are willing to suffer for the cause of the unborn, for racial justice, and for spreading the gospel, then the world is going to say – just like it does in 1 Peter 3:15-“Where is your hope?” John Piper

  40. I don’t think anyone here is saying that God meets only our spiritual needs. People are just saying that expecting God to give us an abundance of luxury items isn’t what we are taught in the bible.

    The bible tells us that God provides as a Father, for our physical needs. He may even provide more that we need. We share our plenty with others when we have it. The bible also encourages both wise stewardship of things we have, and generosity arising from compassion and love for God and others. The bible also tells us that there will be times of plenty and times of lack.

    The bible doesn’t tell us that we are to covet the latest car or clothes, and it doesn’t tell us that these material things are ‘abundant life’. If our main focus becomes obtaining these things, we will miss the path that leads to life. Eternal life and abundant life now is in Him, and not in any kind of material thing.

    Also, some of us might have to give up some kinds of material things when we choose to follow Him, and this may be different for all of us. Even different things at different times.

    Nowhere in scripture can requesting money from people in order to receive an answer to prayer – whether materialistic or not – be found. This extreme practice sends a false message out about the gospel, and should be condemned by Christians everywhere.

    Rejecting this kind of practice doesn’t mean that we don’t have faith in God to meet our physical needs, or even desires. Just that we know His love is sufficient, and we don’t have to pay Him. I’m sure that none of us paid our parents to love us or provide for us, and neither do we need to do this with Father, who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.

  41. FL responding to your post at 9:11 pm, I said that Jesus was speaking of the spiritual (or eternal) life SPECIFICALLY in relation to the scripture we were discussing “that they may have life more abundantly” – which is also the subject and title of this post.

    Of course I am aware of the promises of God for our well-being and for our daily needs to be met, and that these include the physical needs and healing. I dont deny this not least because I have experienced it myself.

    I was concerned here with the notion of “life
    more abundantly” and how it has been used to justify a desire for a good lifestyle. I think everyone here agrees that it is an incorrect reading.

  42. OK, that’s good, so can I move this along a little bit?

    I’m intrigued by your use of the picture in the post, wazza2.

    The pretty blonde woman is presumably a real person, possibly married to a man who sees her as his dream wife. Is there a problem with this? Even if the man and the woman are Christians?

    The classic car is obviously in a car yard, as it has no number plates. Is there a problem to aspiring to own a vehicle like this if a person is able to afford it? Suppose a successful Christian business man, who is extremely generous in his giving to the poor, and into Missions, secretly and without boasting, felt he would like to own this vehicle, would it be a problem, a: to you, b: to God?

    Suppose this same Christian businessman, who employs several people, and likes to give jobs to those who are doing it tough, was challenged by articles by John Piper or John McArthur, to sell up and give everything to the poor, but faced the dilemma that, to do this, he would have to disengage from his goal of employing the poor, using his God-given ability in the area of liberality, and live on a far lower cash flow, what would you say to him?

    Isn’t God classically famous for blessing his people? Like Abraham and his descendants. Has God changed his mind about this? If God wanted his people to have less than the best, why did he say to Abraham, “all the families of the earth will be blessed in you”, and make him a very wealthy prosperous man, even when he made seeming howlers, as with Abimalech (Gen.20:14), and the Pharoah (Gen.12:16), who both helped increase his wealth! Doesn’t tis send a wrong signal to Abraham’s spiritual descendants? Can we be blamed for claiming the promise God made to Abraham and his descendants?

    Did not Abraham, who lived in tents as he sought the more abundant eternal life, the New Jerusalem, yet enjoy the abundant life as he journeyed?

    I sue Abraham as an example, because the New Testament writers bring God’s promises and favour towards him and his descendants, physical and spiritual, into the New Testament, and because Abraham, our father of faith, was never subject to the Mosaic Law,.

  43. Well the picture is from a website which markets prestige cars. The sepia tone and the soft focus around the edges gives it a dream-like quality, and that is what they are really selling – the dream.

    There is nothing wrong, in itself, with having an attractive partner, or an expensive car. Where the most difficulty comes is in longing for them. This causes a lack of peace and redirects ones thoughts and efforts to achieving a goal. It can then interfere with ones Christian walk.

    If someone wanted to buy a car like this, they should be able to justify to themselves (not anyone else) why exactly they should own it. If they find that they desire it for the status it might bring, the emotional security it gives etc. then it might not be a good idea to buy it. Other reasons might be quite valid – including appreciation of good design, investment etc.

    But one couldnt justify it on the basis that “Jesus said we should have an abundant life”. I think some people do use this kind of justification and it is fallacious.

    I will write some more later about the other questions you have posed.

  44. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”

    Romans 1:25

    How much better could it have gotten when God created the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve? Blessed with everything, they were want for nothing. It is not what you value but who you value……

  45. “It is not what you value but who you value……” Exactly, RE, in a nutshell.

    I agree with Wazza re the car. If someone can easily afford a gorgeous car like this, because they think it is beautiful – then I wouldn’t begrudge them buying it. If their relationship with God is growing, they are probably generous towards others as well. On the other hand, if they were trying to impress people with it, or had some emotional need to buy a car like it, then its probably clear that there are a few areas they could grow in, personally.

    On the other hand, if they were asked to stand up in church, while the pastor tells everyone that they’ve just bought a beautiful new car that’s outside in the car park right now – and this is how God blesses us when we are faithful in our giving, then I have reservations.

    The above scenario would imply that were the rest of the congregation to give as generously, they too will be rewarded with material things such as the means to buy the beautiful car. Then the car becomes a carrot used to coerce people to give. That is inappropriate and unsupported by scripture in my view.

    The fact is that we do have rich Christians who can afford these things, and we shouldn’t judge them by appearances any more than we judge those who are poor. Hopefully the rich Christians are involved in helping others by also supporting charity, missions, sharing what they have, and if able, employing others etc. They can contribute a great deal in their communities. Also, if all Christians were the same, we would not be spread out amongst all of society where we are meant to be, amongst all socio-economic brackets. I do think it is part of God’s plan that we are spread out over the entire breadth of society. On the other hand, it is also his plan that we are generous, particularly when our means are abundant. Many people who don’t have much at all are impressively generous, which is very humbling.

    As Wazza says, to justify the car on the basis of ‘Jesus said we should have an abundant life’ is to misinterpret scripture, and in a way, it is a cop out. This belief can help us avoid the challenges that come when we have an abundance, including how we can share what we have, and how we steward what we have in Him.

    Since I am planning house renovations, this is all very relevant to me right now!

  46. It’s interesting what you say of the Garden of Eden, RE.

    Genesis 3
    22 ¶ Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” —
    23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

    He was sent out of the Garden, not because he worshipped the Creation, but because he understood things only God was permitted to understand, and because, along with this knowledge, the sin nature would now endure eternally if he still had access to the Tree of Life.

    So what connection has the Tree of Life with abundant life?

  47. When you assert your independence from God, the only thing you can worship are the created things.

  48. The marked inequity of the ‘have and have-nots’ in this world provokes a warped view of wealth. It stimulates all sorts of ungodly emotions and attitudes depending on your circumstances. Feeling such as entitlement, selfishness, moral superiority, envy, pity, extravagance, wastefulness, anxiety and guilt are some of them. Again, it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all kind of evil. Few people can wear their wealth or lack of it with casual indifference.

  49. Yes, like it or not, wealth affects the comfort of our lives, which directly impacts the way most of us feel about our lives to some degree. It is hard to apply rules to how we use it; easy to become legalistic and judgemental. Easy with prosperity doctrine to develop a sense of entitlement and moral superiority; easy with poverty doctrine (which I’ve heard very little of), to become judgemental and morally superior as well.

    I was just thinking about Joseph of Arithemea, who was rich and honoured Jesus by donating his own tomb and fine linen. Also, Nicodemus who honoured Jesus with myrhh and aloes. So we have two examples of wealthy people honouring God with their wealth; in each case it was entirely voluntary, with no pressure from anyone; it was the desire of their hearts to express their love for Christ in this way.

    It comes back to our hearts, and our actions which are seen by God – not to be paraded around in front of one another – spring from our hearts.

    So the importance of the primacy of our relationship with God, as that is what transforms our hearts, and where we find true life.

  50. You see, wazza2, when I met my wife she was (still is) a pretty blond girl, who, for a time, worked for her father, who, at that time, had a GM dealership, and also sold classic cars, including Aston Martins, which were a labour of love for him, even though he didn’t make a personal fortune out of it. Living the dream! :-)

  51. “Forgive Us Our Debts”

    “(Memphis 02/22/2010) The days of easy credit are taking its toll on the most sacred of borrowers.

    Hundreds of churches are in foreclosure or fighting off foreclosure proceedings. Our News Channel 3 investigation revealed many are from right here in the Mid- South.

    We found more than 2 dozen churches since 2007 that have received foreclosure notices in the Memphis area. In some of the cases, they were churches who borrowed millions of dollars to build new buildings and couldn’t pay back the money. In other cases, we found small congregations who dreamed a little too big, too fast.

    The pastor at Solid Rock Christian Church and his members hope the shield of God will keep away the creditors. Their church is one of the growing number of churches fighting off foreclosure.

    “With the giving units in the church and people facing financially hard times the giving slowed down, but the budget for the building project was still supposed to be in place,” said Apostle Bill Anderson, Solid Rock Christian Church.

    Solid Rock took out a $2.9 million loan to purchase 40 acres of land and build a new church near Raines and Ross Roads. They got the loan from Evangelical Christian Credit Union out of California. The credit union is now filing foreclosure proceedings against the ministry, for defaulting on the loan.

    Anderson said, “I think that it was real slick and those things have to be addressed. It’s supposed to be a Christian credit union but when money gets bad, people who are Christian aren’t really Christian.”

    Anderson accuses ECCU of predatory lending. He says he never reneged on his churches $22,000 a month payment. He says the church had the required checking and savings account with the credit union. In fact, the church used this account before to meet construction loan payments. When tithes and offerings dropped, the church wanted to draw from their credit union savings again. The credit union this time said no. That’s when the two Christian partners parted ways.

    Anderson said, “They started pulling back in a very discreet way so they could hold onto liquid assets and that’s when they stopped funding actual construction projects.”

    A spokesperson for ECCU told us he couldn’t talk about specifics of the case.

    Jac LaTour of ECCU said, “The circumstances surrounding what got them there that’s their story. There’s a lot more to a church’s story than their mortgage. I don’t know their story, but I know our story.”

    Anderson who served as his own general contractor and his deacons finished the building on their own. He says the credit union is trying to sell the property and make a profit.

    That’s a threat that some banks have already carried out.

    “We just took a Chapter 11 and let it go,” said Pastor Leonard Hardaway.

    We caught up with the pastor of New Life Baptist in Millington when he stopped by to check the mail. He stops by his old church every few days.

    Hardaway said, “I come by and look at it. A lot of members come by and look at it. They’ll call me and say pastor I saw the building.”

    The Millington based First Citizens National Bank foreclosed on New Life, last year. They started out in a house, converted it into a church and then borrowed $1 million dollars to build a new one on the same property.

    He said, “A lot in the community are hurt. I know the people up here hurt because we did a lot of things for the community but now we can’t do anything with the property.”

    Looking back the pastor says they should have stayed small. Membership dropped from 300 to about 100. That resulted in a drop in collections and in the end they could no longer afford their payments.

    Hardaway said, “The pews is what hurt you. Hurt me. When we had to take the pews out that building and the struggle we had to get those pews and then had to practically give them away.”

    Also, caught in the web of foreclosure Bishop Eric Farmer. Farmer practices the power of prayer and healing but couldn’t mend the pending foreclosure of his church. Outside his Frayser church there is a sign that says the property is for sale by “The Church Man” on orders of the bank. Farmer who declined to talk on camera told me by phone, he explained the sign to members by saying they were voluntarily handing the keys back to the bank in plans for acquiring a bigger better church. He complained our story on foreclosure would confuse the people but according to the deed, Landmark Trust foreclosed on the property in 2007. When we called, a bank employee said they are letting Farmer and his Spirit of Life Healing Wings, International Church use the property until they can sell it for $300,000.

    None of the banks or lending institutions we contacted wanted to do an on camera interview with News Channel 3. It appears foreclosing on a church is not a popular thing to do. Coming up, Tuesday, on News Channel 3 at 5 o’clock, we’ll show you how some churches are staving off foreclosure and you’ll hear why one Mid-South church says losing its building was one of the best things that could have happened to their church.

    Listed below are names of other churches and religious groups we found through the Memphis Daily News Listings that have received foreclosure notices since 2007. Some of them have been able to stop foreclosure proceedings. Others have not been able to keep the doors open.

    Jacobs Ladder Community Development Corp./ 2646 Midland
    New Antioch Missionary Baptist Church/3485 Rhodes
    Evangelical Faith Community Church/3379 Millbranch
    Bread of Life Missionary Baptist Church/462 Flynn
    Unity Faith Temple of Christ for All Nations/626 Wicks
    New Holiness Church/6368 Highway 51 North
    Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church/290 Tillman
    Greater Deliverance Church of God In Christ/2962 Oakville
    Open Heavens Ministries International, Inc./7030 Gunlock Dr.
    Trinity Church and Christian Center, Inc./3835 Raleigh Millington
    New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church/4862 Millbranch
    Victory Tabernacle Church/1577 Dellwood
    Blessed Trinity Missionary Baptist Church/1062 Wellington
    Shelby County Church of God/3600 Block of Castleman
    New Life Holiness Church/6368 Highway 51 North
    Greater Faith Tabernacle Church of God In Christ/967 Shelby Dr. (This is a house, not the Institute for Success or any other church building)
    Greater Fellowship, Greater Fellowship Ministries, Inc./3885 Tchulahoma
    Deeper Life Christian Church, Inc./1107 Pearce
    Thessalonians Baptist Church, Inc./4091 Overton Crossing
    Saving Station Christian Church/1222 Riverside
    Tanglewood Church of Christ
    Fellowship Church of God In Christ
    St. Joseph Baptist Church, Inc./3628 Millbranch
    Greater Rose of Sharon Apostolic Church/357 Mitchell Rd.
    New Hope Church of God In Christ/8190 Wilkinsville Rd.
    New Canaan Baptist Church
    Restoration Revival Temple Church, Inc.
    Solid Rock Christian Church/4100 Ross Rd.
    Spirit of Life Healing Wings International, Church/3901 Highway 51 North “

  52. This is not surprising.

    It would be very sad and difficult for all the church communities involved here, particularly for people who made large sacrifices in order to give to the church building funds.

    My personal view is that churches should avoid borrowing money as much as possible. Borrowing exposes them to risk. It puts pressure on pastors to keep the giving levels of the congregation high enough to fund interest payments and mortgage repayments. If these payments are substantial, then the church is vulnerable to even a small drop in its giving levels.

    Not only that, once they have their building, there are maintenance costs. Once building funds start, they never seem to have an end.

    Some churches overstretch themselves in the same way that individuals overstretch themselves to buy a house that they can’t really afford. In each case, they may justify it by doing it ‘in faith’. But often its just a strong desire for that object, that they can just reach, if their current circumstances keep going well.

    I’m not against churches borrowing a bit. But they would do well to be very conservative about it. Particularly since church is about the people, not the building.

    An alternative approach would be for churches that want buildings would be for contributions to fund a variety of smaller investments, none of which would lead to ruin if they fell apart. Eventually, they could sell the investments and buy a building outright. I’m not sure if there are regulations etc that would prevent them from being able to do that, but diversifying their risk and not overcommitting to a dream on day one could be a less stressful strategy that allows them to still focus on building their congregation rather than adding to pressures on the offering.

    There might occasionally also be circumstances where building is more cost-effective than renting.

  53. Ah FL, there are a lot of men out there with a love for classic cars of different types.

    Heretic’s even made it into our wedding album.

    There is something beautiful about some cars, that captures people’s hearts in some way. Creating something of beauty is a ‘good thing’ in creation – its the lusting after it that is the problem, not the beautiful thing itself. Which if appreciated in the right way, as something that God has created or enabled us to bring into being, can be a real blessing.

  54. I think Facelift likes to dream about Blue Crabs… I wonder if they just keep ‘dropping into his spirit’.

    … Are you a prosperity preacher Facelift?

  55. I sense a mocking tone there. s&p, but don’t, for the life of me, have a clue what you’re talking about.

    I’m a preacher of the gospel.

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