So, here’s televangelist Kenneth Copeland and historical revisionist David Barton talking about how every problem in America is actually God’s judgment.
Because obviously it’s ridiculous to think that anything bad that happens to us could simply be the result of our own bad decision making.
Anyway, the thing that really bothers me about this “America is the new Israel” theology, other than its complete absurdity, is how utterly self-centered it is.
The language is always “we need to stop doing X” or “we need to start doing Y” so we can reap more blessings. In other words, the motivation to be, at least what they perceive to be, a godly people isn’t love for God or love for neighbor, it’s love for what they think God will give them if they perform (or don’t perform) the right actions.
Which, ironically, is the exact same mentality behind ancient pagan religions – do this and the gods will reward you, don’t do this and the gods will curse you.
I’m not saying God doesn’t dole out blessings or that God doesn’t pass judgment.
The Bible is pretty clear that God does both.
But if the central focus of our faith is doing things or not doing things so God will be happy and bless with us wealth, prosperity, success, etc., then we’ve jettisoned Christianity and replaced it with paganism because the heart of the Christian faith is not a self-centered blessing and curse system. The heart of the Christian faith is undeserved grace and a call to self-sacrifice for the good of others.
I think my friend Ed Cyzewski put it best in his book Hazardous. It all comes down to this simple question: Do we want God or do we just want what God can do for us?
In the case of Copeland and Barton and the rest of their we’re the new Israel/prosperity gospel friends, I think the answer is pretty clear.
Grace and peace,