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One of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic quotes is from The Cost of Discipleship: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” (89).

To be a follower of Jesus, according to the description in Mark 8.34-9.1, means a life of supreme joy (John 17.13), but it also means a life of suffering (Romans 8.17). When we follow Jesus, we will suffer and go through trials. It is a fact of the Christian life.

This seems to be in sharp contrast to the message of Joel Osteen who preaches that wants us to prosperous. Here is the concluding paragraph of Karl Taro Greenfeld’s article about Osteen, God Wants Me to Be Rich, in

“How tempting it would be to just stand and turn my will and life over to Jesus if, in exchange, I will be led down a righteous path of prosperity, taken in hand by Jesus, and Joel, and delivered to my gilded acre of the American dream. Yes, yes, why shouldn’t I stand? Because who am I not to want to be saved?

Who doesn’t need a little bit of Joel in their life, tonight, every night, forever, leading us from this dark place to our promised land? Together, hands joined, shoulder to shoulder, we will march forward into our glorious future. Delete the negative thoughts, Joel preaches. Yes, yes, delete them.”

Does Jesus call us to a life of wealth and ease? Or does he call us to come and lay down our lives and die for a cause far greater than material prosperity?

To read the entire article…

August 2008


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