Many Christians around the world have bought into the assumptions of the prosperity gospel. With Jesus’s help, they have argued, we can all have our best life now. But does this message make any sense in light of the coronavirus pandemic? What happens when a loved one gets sick? What are we to think when we ourselves end up in the hospital, or find ourselves out of a job? On this edition of White Horse Inn, Shane Rosenthal discusses these questions and more with Michael Horton.
Mike, how do you think we should answer people who ask, “Why is God allowing all of this to happen?”Shane Rosenthal
I think what we have to say, first of all, is that we don’t know why God is allowing this. We certainly know that God is working all things together for good, and that means coronavirus.Michael Horton
That’s not to say that coronavirus is good. It’s just that he’s working all things for good.Shane Rosenthal
Yes, I think it’s really important to say that, because he doesn’t say, “Hey, everything comes from God’s hand and therefore it’s good.” It says, “God works everything together for the good of his people and for his glory.” What we can say is that we do know that God only does what is wise, only does what is good. He only allows evils in the world that he has already predestined how he will overcome. It’s like the tapestry where you look at the back of a tapestry and it’s just tangled threads, but you turn it over you see a beautiful design. All we see are the tangled threads. What an arrogant thing it would be for me to think that because I just see tangled strings there isn’t a design. That would just be the height of arrogance to measure God by my wits. This is beyond us. Let’s say that. It’s OK for Christians to say, “I don’t know, but I do know that God is good and wise and sovereign, and he wouldn’t have permitted this if he hadn’t already figured out how much good he’s going to bring about through it.” It doesn’t mean it’s good, but it does mean that there is someone above it all who is working it together for the good of his people.”Michael Horton
TERM TO LEARN
An offshoot of Pentecostalism, the prosperity gospel is characterized by the teaching that believers can “declare,” “speak,” or “claim” their blessings (material, physical, and spiritual well-being) into existence. It is also known as “positive confession,” or more derisively as “name-it-claim-it.” Key leaders in the movement include Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, and Paul and Jan Crouch.
(Definition by Michael Horton)