Friday, October 11, 2013

Jesus liberates the oppressed; the "Prosperity Gospel" does not liberate

Last night on TV, I heard a famous preacher say that Christians should never file bankruptcy, except in rare circumstances.  This is contrary to the Bible’s message of liberation. Never mind the fact that 66% of the bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by medical bills, in this a society that has not provided universal health insurance. Forgiveness of debt is a biblical concept. Jesus tells a parable about a creditor forgiving a debtor who owes him a substantial amount of money (see Matthew 18.21-35). The Torah prescribes forgiveness of debt and a return of the land to its original owners in the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25.10-13). When Jesus began his public ministry, he read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4.18,19, NIV

The "year of the Lord's favor;" the text that Jesus reads refers to the Jubilee. Jesus preaches a message of liberation, the Gospel is GOOD NEWS.

The prosperity gospel is not a gospel of grace, but of bondage; it does not liberate the oppressed.

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