Forgetting Your Children, Prosperity, and Courage

God Forgets the Children of His Rebellious People

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4:6, English Standard Version

Many Christian think that Jesus abolished the Law and the Prophets,

  • either that God has a requirement to bless them regardless of any obedience or lack of it;
  • or that God is simply irrelevant in today’s world, without predictable rewards for obedience, or predicable punishment for disobedience. As if Random Chance ruled the universe until some far distant Judgement Day.

    (As you might guess, this is exactly what secularists and atheists believe. Except that bit about that distant Judgement Day.)

These Christians are being corrupted & destroyed – culturally, spiritually, economically, and possibly even physically – for their antinomian hearts.

As if God was not a King, and as if we are not to obey His commandments.

And faithless, disobedient parents lead to faithless, disobedient children, incapable of inheriting and growing in the promises of God.

The Prosperity Gospel

The following is a quote from the chapter “Obey and Grow Rich” (hint, hint), in Gary North’s book Disobedience and Defeat.

(Very apropos to today’s Western Christian Church, if I may say so myself!)

Addendum: The Prosperity Gospel

The phrase, “the prosperity gospel,” is usually applied to a particular variety of Protestant charismatics. They teach that God wants all of His people to be economically successful. The secret of personal success is said to be the exercise of faith in the promises of God regarding one’s guaranteed personal success in history. This gospel of success is not applied to Christian society in general. Rarely do its proponents accept the concept of a Christian society: Christendom. Most of them are dispensational premillennialists who reject the possibility of Christian society.

This teaching is not found anywhere in the Bible. God never tells His people to have confidence in their future success, if this confidence is based on the intensity of their personal, individual confidence in the unconditional promises of God. These promises are always ethically conditional. God told Moses and Joshua that the basis of the nation’s future military and economic success would be adherence to biblical law. They were to be intensely confident in biblical law and its historical sanctions, not the promise of prosperity irrespective of outward and inward conformity to biblical law.

The charismatic prosperity gospel relies too heavily on the concept of “think and grow rich.”14 This was popularized in the mid-1950s in American liberal Protestant circles and the general public by Rev. Norman Vincent Peale’s best-selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking (1952), which sold tens of millions of copies. Peale was a pastor in a confessionally Calvinistic Dutch-American denomination, the Reformed Church of America, but neither his theology nor his book had anything in common with Christianity, let alone Calvinism.

The charismatic version of the Bible’s prosperity gospel (“gospel” means “good news”) is antinomian. It preaches confidence in the promises of God without reference to the ethical and judicial terms of God’s covenant. God did not tell Joshua to have confidence in the inheritance apart God’s Bible-revealed law. On the contrary, God told Moses, and Moses told the people, that they could not maintain this inheritance apart from widespread obedience to the book of the law (Deut. 28:15–68).

——-

14 Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich (1937). He was the author of Law of Success (1928), and Success Through Positive Mental Attitude (1959). He died in 1970.

“This teaching is not found anywhere in the Bible. God never tells His people to have confidence in their future success, if this confidence is based on the intensity of their personal, individual confidence in the unconditional promises of God. These promises are always ethically conditional.”

Ethics, people! Obedience to God and His Law-Word, not in the supposed power of positive thinking!

As the man, rightfully echoing scripture, said: “Obey God and grow rich!”

The Need for Courage

Does this faith take courage? You bet!

Courage is basic to covenantal success. So is biblical law. He who wishes to succeed must believe that God stands behind him and over him in his endeavors. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).3 The covenantal foundation of this confident New Covenant faith is found in these Old Covenant passages.

[…]

There must also be a legal structure. This is basic to the biblical covenant: point three.7 The positive sanctions of longevity (Deut. 5:33), military victory (Deut. 31:3–5), and prosperity (Josh. 1:8) rested forthrightly on the nation’s adherence to the mandated legal structure.

It takes courage to believe that these sanctions are predictable. The covenant-keeper in faith launches new projects. He believes that there is a positive relationship between obedience to God’s law and positive outcomes in history. Moses told the nation to believe this. God told the nation and Joshua to believe this. Courage is associated with obedience to God’s book of the law. Courage that does not rest on faith in this predictable relationship between obedience to biblical law and success in history is courage that rests on a weak reed.

——

3. Gary North, Ethics and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on the Epistles (Dallas, Georgia: Point Five Press, 2012), ch. 30.

7. Ray R. Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant, 2nd ed. (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, [1987] 1992), ch. 3. (http://bit.ly/rstymp) Gary North, Unconditional Surrender: God’s Program for Victory, 5th ed. (Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision, [1980] 2010), ch. 3.

How are cowards and the faithless supposed to inherit the rewards of faithfulness and courage?

THEY DON’T.

That’s how.

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