I’ve never forgotten a great line from the movie, Platoon. Perhaps you remember it. The Charlie Sheen character, a young, idealistic, confused college boy from a comfortable middle class family, who dropped out in order to volunteer for combat in Viet Nam, is talking to one of his comrades, a semi-literate but worldly-wise country boy from Alabama. Here’s the line, delivered with a drawl: “Shoot, man! You have to be rich to even think like that.”
There are some theological perspectives that sound good in one context, but ridiculous in others. In this article, Al Mohler addresses the popularity of the “Prosperity Gospel” of the Olsteens. It’s easy to see how it appeals to upper middle class Americans dreaming of taking the next step up the ladder of the American dream. But how would it sound to the thousands of Christians who are losing everything right now for their faith, and especially those being martyred in Syria, Iran, Iraq, and China? Do the Osteens have a word for them? If they just had a little more faith, if they just conceived great things in their mind, and visualized a “better you,” would God not only save them, but get them that Mercedes and house with a pool?
The sad part of all this is not that false teachers arise — that is a given — but that they are so readily welcomed by so many. As in the case of false politicians, you can’t blame false teachers for trying to deceive us, especially when there is such good money in it. But we can and should blame ourselves for believing and supporting them.