The Book of Revelation and Its Apocalyptic Implications for the 21st Century (Vol. 2 no. 5

The Apocalyptic Implications of John’s Vision to the 21st-century churches

 Late David B. Barrett, in his book (Note 12), claimed that classical Pentecostalism constituted the largest unit in the Protestant family. Today’s Pentecostal is involved in excessive formalism and preoccupation with externals in much of official Christianity rather than stress personal holiness rooted in scriptural-oriented public and private prayer.

The 21st century African Pentecostal churches are like Thyatira, the central Church of the seven that embodies all three conditions – Perfect, Problem, and Perverse. They are more problematic and perverse churches in Africa. Most of the outward contradictions start from allegations of endemic and audacious corruption, domination, exploitation, oppression, discrimination, marginalization, bigotry, nepotism, occultism, personal empowerment, and leadership power. These variants have allowed intrusions into Christendom in the 21st century, wreaking havoc on the Christian faith. Some of the intrusions are listed below; five of them are discussed in detail:

  1. Prosperity Preaching/Theology
  2. Seeker Sensitivity
  3. Accountability and Corruption;
  4. Embezzlement and mismanagement of funds and resources;
  5. Leadership and Succession problems in the Church
  6. Lack of peaceful co-existence among various denominations and other religions;
  7.  Gender discrimination;
  8. Proselytization and religious propaganda;
  9. Religious fundamentalism and violence;
  10. Religious persecution, violation of human rights, and denial of religious liberty;
  11. Religious pluralism and secularism;
  12. Problems of Religious politics and dominance;
  13. Rise of new religions, Cults and Occultism;
  14. Divorce
  15. Gay/Lesbianism; and
  16. Modern Psychology

• Prosperity Preaching / Theology

 Prosperity preaching, known as the prosperity gospel, is sometimes referred to as Prosperity theology. The health and wealth gospel or the Gospel of success (Note 13) is a religious belief among some Christians that financial blessing is the will of God for them and that faith, positive speech, and donations will increase one’s material wealth. Orthodox Christianity understands faith to be total surrender, belief and trust in Jesus Christ, the truth of His teaching, and the redemptive work He accomplished at Calvary, but prosperity preachers and their churches promote a different doctrine. In his book, The Laws of Prosperity (Note 14), Kenneth Copeland wrote:

Faith is a spiritual force, spiritual energy, a spiritual power.

This force of faith makes the laws of the spirit world function.

There are specific laws governing prosperity revealed in God’s Word,

and faith causes them to function.

It is faulty and a heretical understanding of ‘Faith.’ Later in the same book, Copeland wrote:

If you make up your mind that you are willing to live in divine prosperity

and abundance, divine prosperity will come to pass in your life.

You have exercised your faith. (Note 15)

***to be continued tomorrow

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