Do You Know What Your Missionaries Actually Teach?

I read this earlier today and could not agree any more.  My wife is Peruvian by birth and her parents were missionaries in Huancayo, Peru for many years, so I have a personal connection to the country and can relate to the following article, which can be found here.

Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.

Your short-term and long-term missionaries are bringing death to Peru in the form of the prosperity gospel and word of faith teachings. Men and women are coming down here and telling these people that they’re poor because of sin and doubt. They’re telling the people to speak positive and claim success and health. These missionaries are telling people that they can be rich and live like the patriarchs of the Bible, blessed by the hand of God because of their faith and unshakable holiness.

Do you know how these people are living? They’re drinking river water that is forty percent mud and one hundred percent laden with parasites. They’re living on bananas and roots. It’s a two-day boat ride to the nearest doctor, and the great majority of these people can’t afford boat tickets. Nor can they afford the doctor visit if they could manage to get there. These people have Bibles that they don’t understand because many of them can’t read, and they are isolated from anything that even remotely resembles theological training.

And here you are, Deacon of Missions, and you’ve just agreed to sponsor missionary “X.” Have you talked with him about where he stands doctrinally? Does he believe the prosperity gospel? Is he sympathetic to it? Is he able to rightly divide the word of truth? Is he one approved by a local church that really believes in 2 Timothy 2:15? This person is about to travel the world to make a disciple. Do you know if that’s going to be a good thing, or something to be mourned (Matt 23:15)?

This guy has a great slideshow presentation, a firm handshake, and he can hold the room like a professional. You decide to help him get to the jungles of Peru. As soon as his boots hit the ground he’s doing a whole bunch of stuff that will look great in his newsletters. Toys for the kids. A new short-term missions team is coming down every month. Buildings are being built, Bibles are being given away, and the slide show reel is growing every day.

Oh, by the way, he’s preaching a false gospel. He’s hurting people eternally. He’s doing all kinds of cool, fun, and really Christian stuff for the few hundred people living in this village. But he’s hurting them. In eternal perspective, he is guiding them along the path to nothing but pain and sadness. And he’s able to do it because you send him a big fat check every month. You’re responsible.

Of course, it’s not all your fault, but you are responsible for what you do with your money. Stewardship is the word typically used here. You are accountable for the way you spend that money. You pool those resources, and you are using it to send a false prophet to the jungles of Peru. Or to the caves of Pakistan. Or to the desserts of western Africa.

America is exporting a false gospel that is putting people on the A Train to an eternity of suffering, and you are part of the problem. Stop it. Stop sending wolves in sheep’s clothing. Stop supporting them. Exercise discernment. You’ve supported over two hundred missionaries in the last fourteen years? Great! But what if fifty of them have been ravaging the people you sent them to?

Of course, many churches are careful and discerning about which missionaries they support. I’m grateful for them and I pray God would raise up many more. If that’s your church, pray that God would keep you vigilant. And pray that your sister churches would have the courage and conviction to send prosperity-preaching missionaries to the bench instead of the field.

This isn’t hypothetical. I’ve seen it. In my short time here in the jungles of Peru, I have seen case after case of “Who told this guy he could be a missionary?” I’ve seen the people hurt. I’ve seen the churches hurt. I’ve seen the smiles turn to frowns and the tears of joy turn into tears of pain. I’ve had to rebuke and fight to crowd out the false gospel with the true and beautiful one. I never imagined that our team’s greatest struggle would be fighting to undo all the damage done by other missionaries.

To be honest, “Jesus never promised to make us rich, he promised us he would save us from our sin, and that’s enough!” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. It’s hard to get people to rally around that after they’ve been sold a stadium worth of fool’s gold.

Maybe you’re sitting there with your arms crossed, feeling assured that I’m not talking to you. Your church is reformed. It’s gotta be “those guys” who are responsible for this, right?

Wrong. It’s not just mainline or Pentecostal or word-of-faith or evangellyfish churches that are responsible for this. It’s reformed churches, too. To borrow something from one of my teammates: “That church is reformed, but many of their members feel just as comfortable listening to Joel Osteen as to John MacArthur.” It’s not just “them.” Reformed churches are allowing these teachings to exist within their own four walls, and they are also supporting missionaries who believe and teach such things.

Missions exists because we want to see people eternally happy in the presence of God forever. Let that be your guiding light. Are the people you support working for that? Are they going to help people be eternally happy in Christ? If not, let me encourage you to gently and humbly refuse to support them. Remember, your faithfulness to the Great Commission will not be measured by dollars spent, Bibles given, or hands raised at an altar call. The measure of faithfulness will be an eternal one.

The gospel is beautiful, brothers. It’s the only hope any of us have. Please treat it that way. Love it, protect it, and guard it. And for the love of all things good and holy, please stop sending missionaries to my backyard if they don’t.

Noteable Quotes

– From the Fall onward, human beings have sought to make gods of themselves, make idols of the good things in life, and domesticate the true and living God so that we can (ostensibly) enlist him in our schemes of enrichment and aggrandizement. – Jonathan Baer from The Soil of the Prosperity Gospel

– He humbled Himself, to exalt us; He made Himself a servant, to set us free; He became poor, to enrich us; He was sold, to buy us back; a Captive, to deliver us; Condemned, to procure our pardon; He was made a curse, that we might be blessed; the Oblation for sins, for our justification; His face was marred, to re-beautify ours; He Died, that we may have life. In such sort, that by Him, hardness is softened; wrath appeased; darkness made light; iniquity turned into righteousness; weakness is made strength; despair is consoled; sin is resisted; shame is despised; fear is emboldened; debt is paid; labor is lightened; Sorrow is turned into joy; Misfortune into blessing; Difficulties are made easy; Disorder made order; Division into union; Ignominy is ennobled; Rebellion subjected; Threat is threatened; Ambush is ambushed; Assault assailed; Striving is overpowered; War is warred against; Vengeance is avenged on; Torment tormented; Damnation damned; Destruction destroyed; Hell burned up; Death is killed; Mortality changed to immortality; In short, pity has swallowed up all misery; and Goodness all wretchedness; For all those things, which used to be the arms with which the Devil combated us, and the sting of death, are, to draw us forward, turned into instruments from which we can derive profit. – John Calvin from Christ the End of the Law (London: William Cegg and Co. pp. 29-3, 1850) pp. 29-30

– The wisdom of the age has it backwards. Declaring that a person is a sinner does not make one a hater, but a lover of that person … and of mankind. Do Christians point out sin to shame, bully or incite violence against someone? Absurd and a profound misapprehension of our intent. In calling someone a sinner do Christians think they are superior, more moral? May it never be! Most people’s sin pales in comparison to mine. Fact is, it would only be hate or discrimination if we refused the gospel to someone because we thought their sin makes them somehow unworthy of it. The gospel declares that anyone who, by the grace of God, comes to Christ will be forgiven, no matter how abominable their sin. And such are granted a new heart which loves God and his law. – John Hendryx from The Wisdom of the Age

– We are justified by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone.  Unless it be a heart-purifying, and a work-producing faith, it is spurious – it is not wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God.

We are justified by faith, and our faith is justified or evidenced by our works.  This ancient doctrine is thus maintained by Bishop Horsley, in his first charge:  “That man is justified by faith without works of the law, was the uniform doctrine of our first Reformers.  It is a far more ancient doctrine – it was the doctrine of the whole college of Apostles:  is is more ancient still – it was the doctrine of the prophets;  it is older than the prophets – it was the religion of the patriarchs.  And no one who has the least acquaintance with the writings of the first Reformers will impute to them, more than to the patriarchs, the prophets, or apostles, the absurd opinion, that any man leading an impenitent wicked life, will finally, upon the mere pretense of faith (and faith connected with an impenitent life, must always be a mere pretense, obtain admission to heaven!” – From The Gospel Magazine & Theological Review, Ser 5. Vol 3, no. 1 – July 1874

Daily Roundup

New Theme Song for Prosperity Preachers – Courtesy of Pirate Christian Radio by way of Apprising Ministries.  If you are a faithful “Prosperity Abomigospel” follower, you will not like the implications of this song, just sayin’.

MSM Pushing It’s Own Agenda? Part 1 – John McCain on Face the Nation along with some commentary by Denny Burk.

MSM Pushing It’s Own Agenda? Part 2 – Sad that David Gregory never got back around to Carly Fiorina’s statements.  Just goes to show the depth of human depravity.

Desiring God is Making Available a Free Martin Luther eBook – Head on over and grab it in your favorite format, 3 to choose from.

The Importance of God’s Immutability – R. C. Sproul, Jr. takes a look at the unchanging nature of God.  This is the attribute of God that allows Him to be God.

The Holy Spirit and Apologetics – A message by Al Mohler from the 2007 Contending For The Truth Conference.  Well worth the listen.

Quote:

Let me grant, in the first place, that the believer cannot cite a deeper ground for revelation than its divine authority, which he or she recognizes by faith. But this is not to say that believers have nothing to say to the opponents of that revelation. True: they have no airtight proofs; they cannot move the opponent toward faith; but they have at least as much to say in defending as the opponent has in attacking scriptural authority. Unbelief, too, is rooted, not in proofs and arguments, but in the heart. In this respect believers and unbelievers are in exactly the same position. Their convictions are integrally bound up with their whole personality and are only a posteriori supported by proofs and arguments. And now, when the two parties oppose each other with these a posteriori proofs and arguments, the position of believers is not less favorable than that of unbelievers. God is sufficiently knowable to those who seek him and also sufficiently hidden to those who run away from him. “There is enough light for those who only desire to see and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition. There is enough clarity to illumine the elect and enough darkness to humble them. There is enough darkness to render the reprobate sightless and enough clarity to condemn them and to render them inexcusable.” The state of religion, theism, revelation, and Scripture is not as hopeless as science has for years wanted us to believe. – Herman Bavinck

Daily Roundup

Why God is Against Interracial Marriage – J. D. Hall will get a little under your skin with this post!  Hall claims to be from Arkansas, and with an attitude like this, he just might be.

When Christians Sin Part 1 – I’ve been listening to Tim Conway the last couple of days and these three sermons are incredibly relevant.  I highly recommend you give up 3 hours to listen to them. 

When Christians Sin Part 2

When Christians Sin Part 3

Joel Osteen, and Others, On The Prosperity Abomigospel – It is called the Prosperity Gospel, but it is an abomination to God’s Gospel, hence my renaming it to the Abomigospel.

What I Am Doing You Do Not Understand Now – Much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding him later.  This is as hard for us to grasp today as it was for Peter in the upper room.

Classic Articles on Reformed Theology – A collection of articles and some complete eBooks on the Monergism website dealing with Reformed Theology.

Quote:

Our closeness to God is connected to how much sin we hold on to.  Jesus stresses this very point in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Don’t you ever forget that there is a direct correlation between keeping Christ’s commandments and receiving expressions of love from the Father.  There is a direct relationship between the smile you perceive from Christ Himself and obeying His commandments.  There is distinctly a connection between submission to Christ and your ability to feel the reality of Christ’s presence. – Tim Conway from When Christians Sin Part 2.