When the gospel becomes a product and preaching becomes a stage performance, congregants become consumers in the marketplace of buying, selling, and profiteering. A church becomes a cathedral of neoliberal capitalism, cynical and exploitative. It is no wonder that prosperity preachers tout capitalism as a divine gift of God and socialism as a scheme of the devil. Absolute rubbish.
No need for divine legitimization here, for it is common knowledge that both capitalism and socialism are products of human thought and imagination. They are mere human ideologies and paradigms that have engineered the world we live in today. Sadly for many, we have seen capitalism driven by greed and communism driven by hate, which have wrought untold amounts of human affliction and anguish in decades past. Commodification of the gospel does not glorify God but make gospel preachers part of the problem of greed-driven exploitation. Yet, these are not true gospel preachers but proponents of a false gospel of health, wealth, and hypergrace.
In this context of commercial exchange, we see the banalization and perversion of God’s Word. It is a situation that must be challenged and refuted, the wolves in sheep’s clothing exposed and rebuked. Will the church of Jesus Christ have the courage to speak truth to power in love for the glory of God? I hope so, for the sake of present and future generations.
In greed we trust
Prosperity hypergrace preachers love to market the ravenous gospel of health and wealth camouflaged by the sheepskin of faith directed to a self-concocted Christ. Not quite Christ but a perversion of Christ, an imaginary pseudo-Christ born of the preachers' own covetous imagination.
The prospect of great wealth through a hypergrace-caricatured Jesus is massively enticing. Who amongst us do not want to get rich and have more money? But if you observe carefully and even conduct an empirical study, we may find very few people, if any at all, actually getting rich through this hypergrace scam. Even if there are a handful, I bet it is not statistically significant compared to other money-making schemes in the world.
How many people among the 30,000, 40,000 or 100,000 devotees of prosperity hypergrace churches actually strike it rich through their blab-it-and-grab-it religion? A cursory observation will tell you that the only people seeming to get rich, dress and adorn themselves luxuriously, drive BMWs, live in giant private houses or apartments, redo their hair every week or every few weeks, overhaul their wardrobe every so often, receive six-figure salaries in multiples are the pastors and leaders themselves. While the material source of their money comes from the congregation, the spiritual source might be more sinister: I believe it is Satan himself, not God.
These same beneficiaries of huge wealth transfers from congregation to pastorate further justify their actions and assuage the angst of their crowds by uttering something like this: "Just as anointing from God trickles down from the head down to the lower body parts, similarly all of God's blessings will trickle down from the church leaders to the least among the congregation. So wait your turn!” If this is not blatant exploitation, I don't know what is. Sounds like neoliberal capitalist trickle-down economics if you ask me: a fantasy concocted by the same people who claim capitalism is from God! What’s the biblical evidence?
As believers and disciples of Christ, we need to be vigilant and call out falsehoods whenever and wherever we find them. It is time to call out the wolves in sheep's clothing amongst us, wolves who are fleecing the flock in broad daylight by preaching a perverted gospel that is not the gospel. A marketing ploy and religious scam is not going to save our souls. But the real Jesus, the One who bore the cross for us and calls us even now to bear our own cross in His name, surely will. Be not deceived, my friends. The hypergrace "Jesus" is not my Jesus. Neither should it be yours.
Genie of hypergrace
I find a perverse eerie similitude between the God of hypergrace and the genie of Aladdin’s magic lamp. In the case of Aladdin’s lamp, people covet the lamp because of the genie inside it. They covet the genie not for himself but for the three wishes he offers to anyone who rubs the lamp and lets him loose.
Now does this not remind you of the Jesus of hypergrace? Is he not the genie who is expected to grant breakthroughs and blessings of health, wealth, BMWs, bungalows, multimillion dollar commercial real estate, soulmates, babies, business success, high sales figures, career promotions, youthfulness, reverse ageing, and the carnal list goes on? Just as no one truly loves the genie, it would not be a surprise if hypergrace devotees do not truly love Jesus, whatever they might blabber in narcissistic adulation. Such blabber fails the test.
What do you think happens when the genie does not deliver the goods as craved and wished for? Dejection, complaint, bitterness, loss of faith, and wallowing in self-pity and hedonism to drown one’s sorrows. This same blasphemous loss of faith happens when God in His sovereignty does not answer to our biddings and cravings. Hypergrace overpromises and underdelivers. Why? Because it is a scam, not the gospel.
In the final analysis, their Jesus is instrumental—a genie for their desire gratification, whose blessings can be possessed by one through an exercise of faith: perversely defined as the hand that takes (and takes and takes more). Perhaps I should say the hand that rubs, rubs, and rubs the lamp of hypergrace pseudo-gospel to spew forth magical wish fulfilment by the genie trapped therein. Exploited and used, the God of hypergrace has become nothing more than a genie. It is time to stop this nonsense.