Lazy discernment bloggers like the chookwatchers and some of their sources don’t take the time to examine actual sermons, but rely on the cross-examination of tweets.
Whilst sites like Irate Christian Radio do at least attempt to critique actual sermons, albeit through a biased theological looking glass, there are others that scan the twittersphere for tweets to dissect to build on their negative narratives.
Astonishingly, the chookwatchers copied and pasted an article by Reformed theology radio blogger and Pulpit&Pen contributor Richard Haas, that went after popular target Joyce Meyer, who had posted a tweet encouragement for her followers that said…
‘You can choose an attitude that says, “I will have what belongs to me as a child of God! I will seize the day!’
OK, so she’s promoting her new book, but whatever you think of Joyce Meyer’s ministry, this is a particularly harmless tweet if you take it at face value – encouraging believers to know who they are in Christ, discover what He has won for them through His victory at the cross, and achieve what they can in life and ministry according to His promises.
God’s promises to His children
We are children of God. He has brought us into His Household. Therefore we are have been given many precious promises that enable us to function here and now, and in the future with Him.
The Apostle Peter puts it this way:
2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
All that pertains to life and godliness. So not just godliness, but life itself – the life that we are now living. Living, breathing, life. Those promises are given by God to those who are of the same faith as Abraham, who is called the father of faith to those who believe (Romans 4:16).
Galatians 3:8-9 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever read the story of Abraham, but you’ll know that he was mightily blessed by God, spiritually, socially, and materially. He had the favour and blessing of God on him.
And we are now the sons and daughters of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are joint heirs with Him of the inheritance of God. There is no need for entitlement where there are promises from God.
Back to bondage as slaves
But Richard Haas manages to take this tweet about the sonship of saints and turn it into a sinister teaching on some contrived false doctrine. Here’s what he says…
‘The shallowness of these 140 words pulls back the curtain and allows us to see one of the biggest lies in the Word of Faith theology and the movement itself — Self-Entitlement.’
Er, wait a minute, Richard, where is the tweet relating to self-entitlement? Nowhere, in fact, if you are honest.
Surely it is talking about the promises that come through a relationship with the Father God. It speaks of knowing what belongs to us as children of God, both now and in the future.
Any ‘entitlement’, if you want to use that term, is entirely dependent on our position in Christ. This is not ‘self’ entitlement. It is relational. It is dependent on our acknowledgement of God as our Father and of Christ as our Saviour. We have been adopted as children into the Household of God through faith in Jesus. We have been born of the Spirit. A change has taken place.
The lie is actually in Haas’ accusation. He goes on…
‘The meaning behind this statement is simple. Joyce Meyer’s message takes and elevates man above God. It is this premise of self-entitlement puts God in the position of owning [sic] man something for man following God. In the simplest terms, it comes down to a mentality of “God owes us.”’
I beg your pardon? How on earth did Richard come to this ridiculous conclusion? He made up some pulp fiction about ‘self-entitlement’, then built on this straw man with a criticism of his own contrivance. He is arguing with himself. He is critiquing his own assumptions.
Where does Meyer say anywhere that there is any kind of ‘self-entitlement’, or that ‘God owes us’. Haas completely makes this up. Chookwatcher repeats it by publishing this nonsense.
Household of God
How does Meyer’s tweet, and remember it is a tweet, but how does her tweet elevate man above God? It surely tells Christians that they are no longer sinners but have been made sons. That means God is acknowledged as the Father, which means we have a dependency on Him as our Heavenly Father.
It is reminding saints of their position in the Household of God as children, and our responsibility to discover what belongs to us as children, and how we need to apply these new-found grace gifts.
These include the name of Jesus, the Spirit of God in us, with us and upon us, a regenerated spirit, the Word of God, the Armour of God, the Promises of God, partaking in the divine nature, the keys to the kingdom of God, the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit.
It includes the fruit of the Spirit, the love of God, the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh, and we could go on about the new dimension of living we have come into as those who have been delivered out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
It’s not ‘a mentality of God owes us’, but a mentality that God owns us, and therefore we need to discover who we are in Him, and walk accordingly.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Haas continues with his already wrong premise into a surge of error strewn invective…
‘This self-indulgent attitude towards our position before God is contrary to Scripture. We are told in Scripture (Matthew 5:12) our reward is eternal, not earthly. We are not told to “have what belongs to me as a child of God!” It is that very principle that undermines who we are in Christ. This self-indulgent attitude is a very commonly taught misconception among Word of Faith teachers and followers, the elevation of man’s position above that of Christ and even God. ‘
As I have already shown, there is no ‘self-indulgent attitude’, but an attitude that comes into line with what Christ has won for us and with the grace of God as it is presented to us. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, so now we need to discover and live by these things, not by the things of the world.
We have been changed and need to embrace this new position in newness of life as our full and concentrated effort in Christ.
Again, Haas contrives the notion that this harmless tweet is saying that we should elevate ourselves above Christ and God. Haas made this whole thing up to fabricate a story. What does that make him? Well, let’s not judge him, but his teaching we should discern and see that it is incorrect.
He quotes Matthew 5:12, but completely out of context with what Jesus is saying. The full passage comes from the Beatitudes, and states that the meek shall inherit the earth, and that those who are persecuted for the gospel’s sake will have a heavenly reward.
It is not saying that there is no earthly reward. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 tells us completely the opposite. Those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, because without faith it is impossible to please Him. Salvation is the reward, through faith in Christ, but it is holistic, pertaining to the life that now is and the life to come.
Remember that Jesus told us not to worry about the things we have need of in this earth, but to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’
Then Haas, forgetting that we are now made sons and daughters of the Most High God, determines that we are actually slaves.
‘The Bible clearly states the opposite of what is taught by people such as Joyce Meyer. We better understand where we stand before Christ and God when we look at these verses, Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; and 2 Timothy 2:24. It is made evident in these verses that we are “bondservants to Christ.” The biblical position of man in relationship to Christ is quite different than that of the position held by Word of Faith teachers.’
The Biblical position of a believer in relationship to Christ is that of sonship. We are brethren to Christ and sons of God. We are joint-heirs with Christ of the inheritance of God.
There is a sense in which we make ourselves willing bondservants, but we are, as far as God the Father is concerned, sons.
Galatians 3:26-27 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 4:4-7 When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
We are no longer slaves but sons. That is clear as day in the Word.
The scriptures produced by Haas are used completely out of context with what he is trying to say.
1 Corinthians 7:22 and Ephesians 6:6 are entirely addressed to those who were actual slaves and servants under the employ of masters in a society where slavery was still an acceptable practice.
It is not talking about Christians being slaves at all. It is telling slaves to serve their masters by doing everything as unto Christ and therefore being empowered to have a great attitude in the household in which they served.
But Haas takes these verses and misapplies them to all believers.
We are indeed children of God when we have been redeemed. God has given us many things as believers that we did not have before, and which pertain to life and godliness, both now and into our future with Him.
Humility is believing God’s Word
Haas ends with this…
‘Biblical theology proclaims our need for a Savior and the need for our self-actualization to be found in not choosing an attitude of self-entitlement, but in on of humbleness towards our Lord and Savior. Those who understand their position before Christ rightly know that we are “slaves” to Him who has saved us. We realize that we are owed nothing here on earth, that our greatest “entitlement” here on earth is to pick up our Cross and follow Him daily.’
Well, as I have shown, it is Haas who used the term ‘self-entitlement’. That is his own straw man against which he argues. He’s fighting himself.
Those who understand their position in Christ rightly know we are sons with Him and joint-heirs with Him of the inheritance God has promised.
We are redeemed from the bondage as slaves. We were slaves to sin, now we are sons in the Household of God.
We live as bondservants to do the will of the Father, but we are actually sons who serve, not slaves.
‘Humbleness’, by which I think Haas means humility, is found in accepting what God has done for us in Christ and becoming who He has made us through faith in Him.
It is believing the Word of God and living it now in the time we have in this earth as sons and daughters of the Most High God, which is exactly what Meyer was saying in her tweet.
If chookwatcher had bothered to check out what Haas was actually saying in this piece he would surely have seen the glaring errors presented in the post. Or maybe chookwatcher actually believes and agrees with what Haas has written.