Agreeing with Al Sharpton about the Gospel

You read that right! Al Sharpton and I agree about an aspect of the Gospel. There are not many times that Al Sharpton and I fully agree. And since I’ve never heard him preach nor speak clearly about theology this was a suprise to me when I discovered this last night.

There was a story on the local Fox network last night about preaching. The story featured in interview with Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church. I suppose “church” is a very broadly defined term these days. So Fox got an exclusive interview that Creflo, if I remember rightly, has never granted before. The caption of the story goes:

ATLANTA (FOX5) – It’s called the gospel of prosperity. Religious experts said it’s one of the fastest growing ministries in the country, but prosperity gospel and many of those who preach it, are also drawing controversy. Click on video for more information.

Now the interesting thing is that this “gospel” has been growing and, but is just now getting this kind of attention in a major city. I believe Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts and others have been around for a while.

Now let’s turn to Al Sharpton. In a recent interview with Sharpton we read:

Q: Do you think prosperity Gospel has become too popular?

A: “I think prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel. I think the problem the children of Israel had was that when they got in the wilderness they went into the bling bling. That’s why it took them 40 years to get into the Promised Land. I think we need to get out of the golden calf theology and get back to the gospel of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Moses. That’s why we are lost in the wilderness.”

Wow, finally something I agree with Sharpton on in full, “I think the prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel.”  Sharpton’s interview is mainly political in nature and it’s an interesting read.  His basic position seems to be that political Christians tend to go down the political path of the parties and positions of what ails them.  For example, the white Christians tend to make decision based on the predominate problems in their churches like gay marriage while Sharpton says that black Christians aren’t having gay folks wanting to marry in their churches.  The black churches tend to deal more with things like poverty and education since that plagues them most.  However, the question to Sharpton was put in the context of gay marriage and abortion, yet he didn’t touch the abortion part.  I believe abortion is something that plaques every community whether black or white.  Hey, atleast by letting the children be born they have a chance to be educated and get out of poverty if they were born in it.

Now do Sharpton and Creflo have something in common in all of this?  One of the last things Creflo said in the interview is that as long as someone is being helped and their life is being changed is what counts.  So it seems the motives of both men is to change lives in one way or another.  Creflo by a false Gospel with money at the center and Sharpton by a Gospel of social change with politics at the center with both being supported by their “Gospels” which in essence have the same objective of trying to make peoples’ lives better.  

Now, maybe Jesus is there somewhere, but He certainly doesn’t seem to be at the center.  And without Jesus no matter how you fair materially there can be no real lasting and permanent change in anyone’s life.

Just my observation.

Mark

The above article was posted on November 17, 2006 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sosipater November 17, 2006 at 9:36 am

Mark,

First off, nice looking blog! I like the new digs.

Secondly, good post. It brings forth a lot of interesing questions in my mind. Mr. Sharpton makes some good points I think, politically speaking, in why people/Christians in different (sub)cultures are more concerned about certain policies and laws. I agree with you that as ministers if they have the things at the center of their motives as you say they do, and I agree it seems they do, then that is wrong.

My question is, what if they were doing the same thing but also/at the same time keeping the gospel center, would what they are doing be wrong? IOW, using money and social change as means to help people, but not an end, while consistently speaking of the Gospel as the good news of Jesus Christ. Is that possible? Is it possilbe to understand we are ultimately citizens of heaven, but have a responsibility as citizens of world to effect change here where we can? Just askin.

2 sosipater November 17, 2006 at 2:32 pm

Mark, why you gotta go and ask such a relevant and good question like that?

My first response is, if you believe the church and state are seperate and should not inter-twine, then what does it matter what our president’s religious beliefs are, provided you agree with their moral and political stances? IOW, if Romney was and evangelical Christian, how would that affect his duties as the President? Speaking strictly on job performance, would you ask a potential plumber if they are Christian, or how much experience and how good they are at plumbing? Again, jus askin.

3 johnMark November 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm

My question is, what if they were doing the same thing but also/at the same time keeping the gospel center, would what they are doing be wrong? IOW, using money and social change as means to help people, but not an end, while consistently speaking of the Gospel as the good news of Jesus Christ. Is that possible?

I certainly think that using money and social change as a way to serve our communities and fellow man unto the Gospel is possible. I think the democrats and the republicans have it wrong here, but what does that look like? We can vote for the “best” we can get based on our observations of what is the most biblically based worldview. While I don’t think this means forcing people to pay for others through gov’t. enforcement via taxation, I also don’t see the church even taking care of it’s own much less those less fortunate in her community. So where do we go from here? I am not 100% sure.

Is it possilbe to understand we are ultimately citizens of heaven, but have a responsibility as citizens of world to effect change here where we can?

I think we have a certain responsibility to start from our foundation in Chrsit and grow out our worldly interactions from there. We are told how we should act as a witness to the world for Christ so for the love Christ we should.

My question then is, how and how far? Do we blur the lines at our relationship with Christ for a better and more moral community? Or blur the lines at the community level for Christ not mixing the Gospel for a better moral position? For example, if the Mormon Romney comes to be the Republican canidate for President do we vote for him because he has the most moral stance even though he is anti-Christ? (That’s the clearest example I can think of at the moment to think through my questions.)

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