Who’s a “prosperity apologist”?

Pure gold bars and coins
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Who’s a “prosperity apologist”?

Who’s a “prosperity apologist”?

[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ASV)

The Scriptures that the Apostle Paul is relating to is the corpus of Old Testament writings. The redemptive-historic nature and foundation of Christianity obtains its validity and significance from those very texts. Scriptures shape the very basis of all Christian truth.

The earliest Christians acquiesced to the idea that God had revealed himself in Christ and also through Scripture. This leads us here to be concerned particularly with the function and nature of Scripture, the written Word, as God’s special revelation. God’s self-disclosures in Christ and in Scripture are expressions of the divine “Word”. The “Logos” of God is made manifest in Christ, the incarnate Word and the Holy Bible, the written Word; each bearing witness to the other.

It is incontrovertible that God’s revelation in Scripture is cognitive and addressed to the mind. Its intent is to impart knowledge and understanding that otherwise would not be achievable. Revelation through
word and speech, is propositional revelation as traditionally understood and is a logical and necessary consequence of the fact that God has spoken to mankind.

There is a correlation between God and his Word. When scripture is read, God speaks. What I mean by that is that even though God transcends time and space; he speaks directly to us by his Holy Word (in time and space) and therefore we are ἀναπολόγητος (anapologetos) without “apologetics” (or a reasoned defence, usually translated excuse [Romans 1:20]). The study of the word of God at any level is the study of God Himself and what He has revealed about Himself. The audience is held personally accountable to God as speaking directly to them.

[31] But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

(Matthew 22:31 [KJV])

The correct methodology for apologetics is one where the preeminence to God and biblical authority is respected; the rest is “prosperity apologetics”. A great deal of emphasis is placed by Christian apologists on the importance of these Holy Scriptures as being the primary source of Christian authority, but in practice this has become merely lip service, in some apologetic circles, to this fundamental truth.

The exaltation of “reason only” over propositional revelation has led to an increased prominence in the primacy of Aristotelian Metaphysical Philosophy. It is the capitulation to the “Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment assault on the authority of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures”. 1Ball, B. W. (2015). Revelation and the authority of scripture. In B. W. Ball, & R. K. McIver (Eds.), Grounds for assurance and hope: Selected biblical and historical writings of Bryan W. Ball (pp. 23-43). Cooranbong, Australia: Avondale Academic Press. Natural Theology, which is grounded in Aristotelian Metaphysical Philosophy discusses the existence of a Primary Deity trying to demonstrate Christian theism as the most plausible worldview and that the God of the Holy Bible is that Primary Deity. It’s like putting up philosophical scaffolding around an absent building: you are trying to legitimise a belief in the God of the Holy Bible, based on reason, in the absence of God and his revelation in the Scriptures. Is that reasonable? Do we investigate Roman history not including the accounts of Roman Historians? What are we to make of the following then?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (θεόπνευστος, Theopneustos), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

(II Timothy 3:16 [EMTV])

This is a rhetorical question. Natural Theology  “the project of arguing for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts2Chignell, Andrew and Derk Pereboom, “Natural Theology and Natural Religion”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2020/entries/natural-theology/>. deals with observations in nature and within the human experience that can be seen by all and that testify to God’s existence. It is in essence the basis of the classical apologetic methodological approach. For me it fails to “give a reason for the hope that is in” us (1 Pet. 3:15). That can translate broadly into the question “Why are you a Christian?” An agnostic can argue for intelligent design “arguments for intelligent design by the intelligent design movement are formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid positing the identity of the designer” as proclaimed by (a not so neutral) Wikipedia (which rejects it as pseudoscience as it runs contrary to its evolution prop-agenda)

For a number of faithful Christians, the Scriptures are a special divine revelation and received as the Word of God. Its authoritative status has been agreed upon throughout most of Christian history.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

(Romans 1:16 [KJV])

It seems like some Christians are ashamed of the Gospel and the Scriptures, to use them to explain the reason for the hope that is in them. Let me remind them to proclaim the veracity of the Scriptures; before the cock crows three times.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

(II Corinthians 13:14 [ASV])

Featured Image: Photo by Zlaťáky.cz on Unsplash

Footnotes

  • 1
    Ball, B. W. (2015). Revelation and the authority of scripture. In B. W. Ball, & R. K. McIver (Eds.), Grounds for assurance and hope: Selected biblical and historical writings of Bryan W. Ball (pp. 23-43). Cooranbong, Australia: Avondale Academic Press.
  • 2
    Chignell, Andrew and Derk Pereboom, “Natural Theology and Natural Religion”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2020/entries/natural-theology/>.
Translate ยป