Monday, November 26, 2007
The Baal Network
The TBN network has to be the ultimate example of truth being stranger than fiction. Apart from seeing it with my own eyes I could not bring myself to believe that an entire network exists to promote rank idolatry under the guise of biblical Christianity and that millions of people watch, believe, try to live by, promote and defend the poison it spews on a daily basis. I caught a bit of The Baal Network this past week while spending some time with my in-laws who’ve locked it on their dial. Though I don’t remember the name of the first Baal priest I saw I won’t soon forget the brash manner in which he twisted the words of our Lord to push his religion of get rich or die trying.
He was speaking from the Matt 6 passage in which Jesus tells His disciples not to worry about our basic physical needs. The context of His teaching begins in verse 19 where Jesus specifically told His followers
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Those are the controlling words of this passage. What follows is a fuller explanation of what Jesus just said. He told us not to be consumed with the desire and accumulation of things. Material wealth does not last, cannot really satisfy and won’t provide security. Instead of investing our lives into getting more and more we are to pour ourselves into the advancement of His kingdom which will move us to do good and impact the lives of others. The gracious eternal reward generated through a lifestyle of service for a lifetime will never wear out, never be taken away and never fail to satisfy us completely. That’s because the Lord Himself is our reward and being present with Him will bring us all of the soul satisfaction we could ever hope for. Having such a hope liberates us from the ungodly pursuit of wealth and materialism at all cost. Much more could be said about the passage, especially Jesus’ metaphor of the eye being the lamp of the whole body. If materialism therefore is the sole focus of your existence then it is a sad empty existence indeed.
Somehow the baal priests and priestesses on TBN don’t get that. This particular priest took the words of our Lord that instruct us to refuse to follow greed’s trap and turned them into a call for new cars, new homes and great vacations. Upon referring to Matt. 6:32 (‘…your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things‘…) the priest went onto ask how many people in his audience needed a new car. When only a few raised their hands he took it to the next level and with utter disregard for the plain teaching of the passage shouted confidently ‘how many of you want a new car?’ Once everybody chimed in and started drinking the kool-aid he pressed his advantage and asked ‘who wants a new house and nice vacation. His implication was clear. Jesus wants you to run after things. Your life is defined by the things you have. Regardless of where you are now financially you’re not living the ‘victorious’ Christian life until you get what you want, all that you want and when you want it. And guess what? Jesus was born, spent a lifetime as a real man, endured Satan’s temptations, was constantly challenged by ungodly religious leaders (who by the way have the same values and attitudes of those of The Baal Network) was betrayed, put through a sham trial, mocked, jeered, denied, abandoned, beaten to a bloody pulp and then after having nails banged into His hands and feet was lifted naked onto a wooden cross. He then endured the full weight of the Father’s fierce, settled, righteous, passionate anger against the sin of the world until finally while on the cross the Father with whom He had enjoyed eternal fellowship with turned away as His own sinless Son was made to be sin. And then He died.
And why did the Lord of glory endure such grievous pain and death? So that you could sow your seed offering, claim your blessing and have yet one more thing to put in your Public Storage locker.
Folks enough is enough. These people aren’t in error, misguided or confused. They’re deliberately prostituting scripture, the cross and Jesus Christ to engorge their own debauched greed. How many people will listen to them and go further into debt just to live the ‘victorious’ life? How many people will refuse to see and believe what scripture plainly teaches about money and wealth and see riches beyond belief in every passage? How many people will be dissatisfied with a living, thriving, worshiping relationship with the God of steadfast love and instead simply use Him to get their next plasma t.v.? How many people will continue to exchange the eternal glory of the immortal God for the temporary glitter of the golden baals of our day? And at what cost to their souls will they do so?
To Him Who Loves Us…