A local church here in Bucuresti has been holding late-night prayer and “revival” meetings. I was super excited and had been hearing some awesome reports about healings, the presence of God, people staying until 2 a.m. to pray and seek God, and awesome, biblical preaching. So we headed there with high expectations on Thursday night.
Worship was awesome. This church the most life-filled worship service here in Bucuresti. People were singing loudly and with passion, and there was a real joy on people’s faces. That’s something I haven’t seen since moving out here, and, oh, how it fed my spirit!
But then the guest speaker gets up and begins to preach a whole message about how it’s all about trusting Jesus to get you more money, more cars, more houses, more, more, more, more… “If you’re obeying Jesus, you will never need a doctor, you will have a perfect car…” he said, somehow forgetting that Job and Paul were both righteous men and suffered terribly. And he somehow managed to ignore how our savior was nailed to a piece of wood until he died of suffocation, all while obeying God perfectly. “Why ask for a car or a material possession? That’s too small! Ask instead for *all* of it! This is what it’s all about!” It couldn’t be about making disciples and seeing souls damned to hell rescued, now could it? Jesus, apparently, had it wrong.
Ugh! I hate this prosperity gospel that’s creeping into the church in Romania. Jesus did not die on a cross to give you a new car. He died on a cross to rescue your neighbor whose life is falling apart and who will spend eternity in hell as long as you’re too lazy to do anything about it.
He died on a cross so a young Gyspy girl doesn’t have to sell her body just so she can feed her kids.
While walking back home from the church service (we left early), we were approached two different times by prostitutes to see if we were interested in their “services.” I wasn’t angered or disgusted by these women. Most of them are doing this because they live in a society that gives them no options. For a Gypsy, most doors in Romania are closed and will not open. And a mother has to feed her kids somehow…
But I was frustrated. I was frustrated that all I could say was, “No. Christian. Jesus Christ.” I wanted to tell her about the love of God. I wanted to tell her how he can help her change if she wants to. I wanted to tell her the *real* prosperity gospel: that Jesus loves her so much that he wants to provide for her without requiring that she have sex with strangers, if only she trusts him. I wanted to pray with her and treat her as my own sister. But all I could say was, “No. Christian. Jesus Christ.”
If you can’t guess, I’m still processing things.