Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Monstrous Idol - Capitalism


I Cor.10: 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Idolatry is a sin. We often see it in the strict sense of bowing before a sculpture or a golden calf. We seldom see idolatry as it is practiced within our own culture since we do not physically bow before anything. However there are many idols among us as well as in the church regardless of how we do or do not bow before them physically. No one can worship God while he worships idols. This is a sad tale of spiritual adultery and a people who turned away from Christ in order to cling to false idols.

Some treat their homes and cars as idols. Some embrace sports teams or pets as idols. Some see their ethnicity or even their gender as idols. All of us are tempted to embrace idols in some form. But there is an idol which has not just crept into the church. It has been welcomed and celebrated. This idol has compromised almost every area of spiritual life. It has made people have divided loyalties. It has made people hate. It has made people embrace violence. It has made people self righteous. It has created sectarianism. And in many ways it has changed the nature of Christ and the nature of the gospel. The depth and seriousness of this spiritual compromise cannot be overstated.

I have watched and listened as preachers and Sunday School teachers and mature believers have fallen under the spell of this idol and have allowed it both change their views as well as change their tone. I do not know what else to do but to continue to expose this idolatry for the spiritual adultery that it is. It is commonly called nationalism and it is expressed as a love and allegiance for a certain nation. In this case it is of course America. Although I see some believers coming out of this major deception I continue to be most saddened by its continuing affect upon many more.

But I would like to peel off all the layers of this deception and expose it for what it is. The reason people love America and are willing to defend it even with war is because of the lifestyle it now provides. In essence, it is the prosperity in America which elicits affection and loyalty and even love. Yes, money itself is basically at the root of patriotism. If this were a very poor nation which offered little in the way of success it would be a somewhat different story. It was in the midst of this prosperity that the prosperity movement within the church was birthed. And most of the evangelical churches in America considers wealth to be a blessing from God without exception.

Even the moral issues take a back seat to money. It isn’t President Obama’s pro-choice stand which elicits the most fire from the church. It isn’t his stance on gay marriage either. He is called a socialist and portrayed as deconstructing the American way of life which is code for taking our property and money. People are against illegal aliens because they believe they are a strain on the American budget. The term “liberal” is a pejorative that indicates higher taxes and social programs. Everything either directly or indirectly revolves around money. “How can gay marriage revolve around money”, you ask? Watch:

And there it is unvarnished and naked for all to see. While the church contends that gay marriage is unbiblical on moral grounds many have ulterior motives. Can you actually believe such a thing? Matthew Hagee is the son of prosperity preacher John Hagee. Money and capitalism is a god to these kinds of hucksters and even gay marriage means a hit on our pocketbooks. What kind of twisted mind sees things like this economically? I will tell you. It is a mind consumed with the love of money. They see capitalism as a divine gift and a pathway to divine prosperity.

Of course I do not suggest any earthly economic structure as divine. But capitalism is basically an economic and political system which touts personal aggrandizement through industriousness and clever investment. It is seen as a ladder to personal and accumulated wealth.

So nationalism in America is completely tethered to the issue of wealth and the accumulation of such wealth. On earth there is little wrong with such a system, however how can we reconcile that with God’s Word? The New Testament is replete with warnings about seeking wealth and storing up such wealth. But it is astounding how clear Scriptural teaching has been sacrificed upon the altar of the cultural norm. When it comes to money, the lusts of men’s hearts have become the driving exegetical force. Personal wealth is the peg hole into which the cylinder of Scripture must fit.

Money is little more than the tangible revelation of extreme narcissism which is the antithesis of the Christian faith and practice. When a culture has been built, processed, and made successful upon the making and keeping of money then it can have an enormous affect on people’s thought patterns and perspectives. Anyone who seems to inhibit our path to financial gain is met with disdain and acrimony. And those who seem to be supported by our hard fought financial gain without showing an acceptable level of industriousness are often hated. Money is a pie from which everyone draws and about which many fight. I am owed my slice of that pie and I must build upon that first slice until I own my own pie.

And when a culture encourages behavior both openly and subtly to that end, then the integrity of the Christian faith is in jeopardy. There can be only two paths for our faith when we live in and among a culture such as this. Either we humbly but forcefully fight to remain separated from the philosophies of that culture, or we slowly but surely acquiesce to those philosophies. And if the church embraces those philosophies, then there is no battle at all. And eventually the church construct, the church practices, the church buildings, and even the church theology become a reflection of the culture rather than of Scripture.

And even dismissing the carnal ramblings of such men as Hagee, the western church has become a powerless organization which spends obscene amounts of money on staff and buildings and self serving activities. Sunday after Sunday millions upon millions of evangelical church members pour into debt ridden buildings for a few hours and then return to their innocuous and unremarkable lives which appear very similar to those who stayed home on Sunday. And because the church has become a willing part of the culture, words of hate, words of complaint, words of greed, words of pride, and all kinds of words in support of vain philosophies are common within the community of faith.

And woven within the entire fabric is money and a hedonistic lifestyle. The deception has become so deep and so profound that even capitalism is embraced as coming down from heaven. Any criticism of capitalism is viewed as an attack on America and vice versa. But we as believing followers of Jesus should never embrace anything except the words which proceed from God’s mouth. And if we take just the Sermon on the Mount alone as a divine template, well we must admit we have strayed far from home. That is unless we chose to defend our opinions over God’s Word. And if that is what you desire than you need not go further than the Sunday morning service.


michael said...

I have watched this man develop from being a boy singing with his sister and mom in his dad's broadcasts.

After watching that I'd think if he has any chance of making it out of this world alive to Glory he ought to just go back to singing and glorifying God with songs about Grace and Truth!

That was disgusting to listen to and I suppose there are higher powers at work bringing him to such a foolish reality!

Ah, how about this for survival, Matt? ::::>

Gen 2:5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up--for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,
Gen 2:6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground--
Gen 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Gen 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Anonymous said...


I think that since the early church days, christians have always had to live in secular idol-worshipping nations. Every nation exercised at least some unchristian activities. But, I don't recall any professed christians in a nation (Hagee) blaming homosexuality and non-traditional marriage for a possible fall of the economy. The only one I can think of on the top of my head is Hitler's minions, who blamed the ills of their country on the Jewish peoples.

Every nation has it's problems. There are highs and lows, but when the 'church' becomes sanctimonious and self-righteous enough to call out sinners and use them as scape-goats for the ills of their country, then, it isn't just 'idolatry' of nationalism, but it's slanderous and anti-Christ and it invokes persecution towards a group. Did Jesus slander Mary Magdelene and allow the religious priests to stone her and call out all prostitutes as the reason for Israel's problems? Imagine if the economy did crash, and Hagee followers lost their investments, how angry they would be towards those they believe caused this.

Another point which Rick shows true here, is that "sin" isn't the main concern of people like Hagee, but it's the sin's results that worry people like Hagee. They are more concerned about how that sin will affect their bank accounts. They are so caught up with the idol money and success, that they'll defend it and publicly verbally persecute unbelievers. They are willing to throw unbelievers to the wolves so they can keep their precious materials and lifestyles.

Our eyes are opened and we see through them. How others can't see through them yet only the Lord Jesus knows, but I hope and pray the scales are removed from many eyes soon, before the 'church' becomes an iron-fisted regime that seeks out those not like them to persecute and blame.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great reminder Pastor Rick.

Luke 16 v 13. No servant can serve two masters ; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

As Jesus tells us.

Cherie c. said...

Apostasy is not confined to misusing, misleading, and misappropriating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is apostate in everything.

If the American Church is apostate with the Gospel, why is everyone surprised when it steps further into the realm of abomination?

This is the end times to the fullest, and we should not think it strange. We were told before hand buy the Lord.

Like you said Pastor Rick, all you can do is expose it for what it is and hopefully, and but the Grace of God, someone will listen, repent and come to the Lord.

Our Lord lives and He is coming back soon. That is all I can think of lately. I am anxious and anxious at the same time.

Anxious for Him to return, and anxious that He is returning and that I will be found unworthy of Him. All I can do is surrender my will to Him and repent when I fall and look to my blessed hope, Jesus. I am not confident that I have done or said or thought or anything to gain Him, He has done it all for me. Even when my flesh says I have not done enough to deserve any fulfilled need or blessing by the Father, I have no choice but to ask for acceptance. I do not rely upon anything of me, but everything of Him because I can never, never effectuate my salvation. I can only be drawn and fall on my face and say yes. Yes I will give up career, cars, everything in order to have the only one who saves.

Capitalism, Socialism, Communisim, or any other World system holds no interest to me. I am only interested in Eternity Future. My future is with my Lord and Savior. I am still a sinner, in the flesh, but my spirit is with the Lord. My family thinks I am nuts that I don't care if we go on vacation, or have entertainment, etc. My whole desire is to be with the Lord and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I long to fellowship with true believers, but there are none where I am. But I have all of you and the Lord and that is comfort enough. But like Paul, I run the race for the prize of the reward found in Jesus. I hope and pray that He finds me worthy. I fall so short more often than I can say, and I am a needy follower of Christ. I need His approval all the time. The true Church does not care about money except where it can help someone else or a ministry doing the Will of God.

Capitalism along with the other isms of the world will one day be brought down.

Below is all we need to do, all we should do. Money is not listed.

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

1Peter 4:17-18 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?"

My Lord and my Savior your grace is truly sufficient for me.


Radiance said...

I used to claim to be a patriot, but one of the first things that made me renounce that title was discovering that patriotism for most people did not stem from a genuine love for freedom, justice, equality, and the supposed "transcendent" concepts of our national creed which most echo the truths of the Gospel -- but as you say, idolatry of material gain and quite frankly, white supremacy.

Cherie c. said...

Absolutely Not!

" and the supposed "transcendent" concepts of our national creed which most echo the truths of the Gospel"

No where does any creed or document or concept echo the truths of the Gospel, no where.

Read Genesis 9 and 10 to understand how nations were established. Nations are used by God for judgment, but they are NOT ordained by God. The first nation was Babel and they were disobedient and so God disbursed them with many tongues (languages). That is how nations were established. Not of God, but allowed by God. And in no way are they, even the US, echo the truth of the Gospel and never will.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.