We have to call chookwatcher ‘chookwatcher’ because he has a spirit of timidity, which means he is reticent to own up to his own accusations of other people.
Boring though it is to not have an actual name to officially apply to chookwatcher after all this time of blogging, unlike identifiable critics like Chris Rosebrough, J D Hall, or Steve Kozar, we will have to put up with his secrecy and fear of man for a while longer it seems.
Anyway, regardless of his reluctance to come clean with his identity, chookwatcher has put up a ludicrous article that makes the extraordinary claim that Jesus has ‘accursed’ Brian Houston because Brian preached an excellent message on living a Christian life with a generous attitude, including generous giving and thoughts towards other people.
I’m not kidding. Chookwatcher’s article is actually called ‘Why Jesus Christ himself has “accursed” Brian Houston’. Then follows a few scriptures about purveyors of another gospel being accursed, and a dodgy accusation or two about preaching on prosperity, as if the notion of blessing doesn’t exist anywhere in scripture, or the word ‘prosperity’ is in itself anathema.
Anyway, to start this off, check Brian’s message on the generous spirit for yourself, and see if you think Jesus would be cursing anyone for this message.
There you have it!
Nothing unduly controversial in this message. It’s a Biblical analysis of the teaching on the generous heart quoting from Proverbs and a few other areas, and pointing out that those who have a big heart towards others tend to thrive because their attitude is kind, magnanimous and unfettered by stinginess or selfishness.
He reads from Proverbs 11:24-25, so we’ll add a little of that passage to assist the context, here from the NKJV.
Proverbs 11:23-28 The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.
The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
He who earnestly seeks good finds favour but trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
So, one who blesses others, says the scripture, will be abundantly blessed. The writer of the wisdom in Proverbs is reminding us that we need to maintain a generous attitude towards others, and this, in turn, will lead us to be blessed by them.
This is scripture. This is the Word of God through the writer of Proverbs. This is not some other gospel, or anathema. This is God speaking to us through Wisdom.
Chookwatcher completely misses the point
But what does chookwatcher do with this teaching? After going to the trouble of producing an entire transcript of the message, he wilfully and utterly ignores every word it says and applies a stingy attitude towards Brian for preaching what the Word actually says.
Here’s what chookwatcher writes…
‘Brian Houston hasn’t changed. He keeps defaulting back to his heretical Prosperity Gospel. All he has done is change his language slightly to preach the same damnable, false gospel known as the Prosperity Gospel. Notice how his “good news” is belittled by the Apostle Paul’s rhetoric. Although Brian Houston says, “… I do believe […] we don’t give to get,” he can’t help slip back into the filth of the Prosperity Gospel.’
The Apostle Paul’s ‘rhetoric’? He does ‘rhetoric’? Anyway, what does the Apostle say, then, according to chookwatcher?
Galatians 1:8-9 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
What was this contrary gospel that Paul was referring to? The Judaisers of the day were attempting to force Jewish Christians back into Old Testament law and ceremonies and what Paul names as ‘the circumcision made with hands’, by which he means the Mosaic Law, from which we are all redeemed through the work of the cross.
All things are made new and we have come into the liberty of the Spirit under the New Covenant in Christ.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
It had nothing to do with teaching on Biblical prosperity, which is not a gospel, or a contrary gospel, being not the means of salvation, but is part of the fruit of the new life of abundance promised by Jesus, along with suffering, persecution, and trials, incidentally, but it is certainly referred to throughout scripture as God’s intention for His people.
John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Well, I put it to you that abundant life, perissos, ‘superabundant in quantity and superior in quality’, is actually a form of prosperity when it is in the hands of God, who swore by Himself and promised His people, that, ‘blessing I will bless and multiplying I will multiply.”
Tagged by the critics
It is the critics who have named the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and created a misleading narrative out of it, demonising their own creation, because they are not generous. They want to keep Christians down and apply laws to their lifestyle.
In fact, they preach a false gospel of austerity and stiff-necked religious piety devoid of liberty that brings people back into the bondage from which we have been set free by Christ.
There is no ‘filth’ to God’s prosperity. Are they saying that God was advocating ‘filth’ when He said through the Psalmist…
‘A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
‘Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favour my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”’
‘Prosperity’ here in Hebrew is the familiar word shalom, meaning ‘completeness, soundness, welfare, peace’. This is Biblical prosperity and it is the result of coming into our Covenant with God under the New Testament written in the blood of Christ.
There is nothing ‘filthy’ or anathema about God’s pleasure in the prosperity of His servant, or how He brings out the widow, the solitary, and the bound into prosperity. He often achieves this through the willingly generous-hearted faithful who share His liberality with His possession.
God’s rescue mission is for Today, and it is holistic. Today is the day of your salvation. Today is always Today, always now.
We are stewards of His goods, entrusted with their dispensation in His name according to His purposes. He is the One who prospers. It all belongs to Him. We are His custodians in the earth who release His goods according to His will and pleasure, at His instruction.
The generous soul
The problem lies with the chookwatcher types who do not understand the heart of God, nor what He means by prosperity.
But Brian is actually talking about something else. He is talking about generosity of spirit – the kind of attitude that reaches out to give to others simply because the giver is magnanimous.
The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
The attitude of the generous tends towards increase. But those who withhold tend towards cursing.
So the curse is not on the gospel that includes God’s purpose to prosper His servants, nor on those who ensure that there is enough grain to go around when God opens the windows of heaven and provides the increase, but it is on those who refuse to spread the goodness with which God blesses His people – on the stingy-hearted.
The curse is on those who withhold.
Brian says, “when you do give, you trigger biblical principal, you trigger biblical possibility, you trigger miracles, you are a miracle waiting to happen, tell someone next to you, you are a miracle waiting to happen.”
What is chookwatcher’s response?
‘This is the EXACT false gospel that Paul claims will send someone to hell.’
So when Jesus says more or less the same thing, He is preaching a false gospel that will send someone to hell, according to Paul? Is that what chookwatcher is saying? What does Jesus say, then, that is closely mirrored by Brian’s words?
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
When you give you will receive abundantly according to the measure you gave. This is saying almost the same thing that Brian said at which chookwatcher aimed his poison dart of accusation. Brian added the word ‘miracle’, but for some this would be a miraculous outcome.
For instance, think about the boy who gave the loaves and fishes that were miraculously multiplied to feed 5,000. Jesus works with our giving to provide for those around. It is a Biblical principle.
1 Corinthians 9:6-11 He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
God is a Giver, and those who are of Him are givers with Him.
Sadly for chookwatcher, rather than read the piece he transcribed and adding generosity to his own attitude, he chose to be stingy and falsely accuse a person for preaching the truth. He advocates the attitude of a withholder.
Nowhere has chookwatcher shown that Jesus has ‘accursed’ Brian. He has only proven once again that he falls short of the Word of Truth when he is attempting to lay false charges against Christians.
The blindness of the critics is becoming an astonishment to all but their own blinkered fan-club.
We’ll leave the last word in this article to Brian Houston.
‘Well, it says, ‘the one who blesses others is abundantly blessed’ in verse 25, ‘and those who help others are helped’. So think about generosity as a different world, it’s the ground you stand on, it’s the air you breathe, it’s the vista you see, you see a different layout of the land and you see things differently. It’s the language you speak, generosity speaks in a different language than often you’ll see in the newspapers, or through the television screen, or maybe from the people at work. It’s a different way of thinking, it’s a different way of seeing, it’s a different way of living.’