By Robin Hensel, Guest Columnist
I believe modern Christianity has lost its way. Philippians 2:3 says, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies like Social Security, unemployment insurance, aid to dependent children, minimum wage, housing, stock market regulation and federal deposit insurance seem to me to be “Christian-like” help programs that make this nation great.
One of the central teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, is to love your fellow man. Based on that love, we are to care for the poor, the abandoned and those incapable of supporting themselves.
Susan Brooks-Thistlethwaite’s article in the Washington Post titled, “Christian Capitalism” is captivating reading. Brooks-Thislethwaite is a professor at Chicago Theological Seminar. She points out that the early church followed the commands of Jesus to happily share their possessions.
Acts 4:32-35 says, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. … Neither was there any of them among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the prices of things that were sold and laid them down with the apostles feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
Some of the modern interpretations of Christianity actually turn its original teachings on its head.
The “Prosperity Gospel,” Word of Faith/Rhema Bible College teaches that if one has faith in Christ, and tithes to their “word” church, then prosperity will follow. They also teach that if their followers have not achieved prosperity, there must be sin in their life.
This belief seems sadly judgmental and seriously flawed. That same message may be encouraging followers to amass and keep wealth and cause them to believe that God ordains and expects this. They have taken “positive thinking” to new heights.
Some of the these more commercially-oriented preachers include Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Rod Parsley, Paul Crough of TBN network and from Minneapolis; Mac Hammond and Randy Morrison.
It’s also said, unfortunately, that the best kept secret of the Catholic Church is its message on social justice.
The teachings of “Dominionist” or “New Apostolic Reformation” churches (Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann) seem at odds with the mission of social justice, bolstering the “Tea Party” movement.
I found “God’s Profits,” by Sarah Posner, to be very enlighting reading on this subject. Solid governance can only be achieved when fair, inclusive policies are implemented.
I urge everyone to do something. Get involved. Speak out. Make a difference. People are happiest when they are working as part of something larger than themselves. You can make a difference. Occupy your church, your political party and every cause that is dear to your heart.
Wake up church.
Robin Hensel is a resident of Little Falls.