How The Economy Affects Our View of God

This past summer Beth Moore and Kay Arthur, two wildly popular Bible teachers, spoke at a series of Christian conferences designed for women called Deeper Still. At some point during the summer an email began to circulate via the internet that was attributed to Beth Moore and referenced a message given by Kay Arthur at the Atlanta conference that was held in late June. It turns out that the email was a forgery in that it wasn’t written by Beth Moore and Kay Arthur denied having said what the email attributed to her. Snopes has a full accounting on its site.

What I’m mainly interested in is why this false email garnered so much attention, why it was passed on, and believed by so many. What does all of this tell us about how our culture affects our view of God? But first here is the email. Remember that it is untrue but at the same time many believed that it was written by one of the nation’s most well-known Bible teachers.

BETH MOORE, LIVING PROOF MINISTRIES

Dear Ones,
On June 27th and 28th I attended a conference in Atlanta called
Deeper Still. I was one of three speakers – among the others being Kay Arthur, well known author and Biblical teacher, I looked forward to a special time of worship and having God convict me of my sins and lead me to areas in my life where I need to change. I have been to similar conferences for years, although none this large and with so many well-known speakers. There were over 20,000 women in attendance at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta – they said it was the largest crowd ever.

I had an idea of what to expect from the conference, but nothing
prepared me for what actually happened. I feel led to share my
experience with family and friends. This is important, so stay with me!

When Kay Arthur took the stage you could just tell that her
spirit was heavy and there was certain ‘heaviness’ in the atmosphere
even before she started to speak. She said that she had been literally
physically sick to have to bring us this message and right out the gate she said, ‘We are in grave danger.’ She said that God had revealed to her that a literal famine is coming to America -Physical, not spiritual. She said that God is moving in judgment against our nation. I know I can’t describe this well enough, but the atmosphere was ominous.

Kay is a seasoned speaker and she had to BATTLE to get through
her message. She stumbled over scriptures and had an extremely difficult time. At times I was almost expecting her to collapse. At one point she just had to stop and pray. There was no person, myself included, that I could see who did not have tears streaming down their faces. As you may know, Kay Arthur is normally a very confident, composed speaker, but she was literally in a spiritual battle and it was taking place right before my eyes. I have never seen anything like it.

She went on to give 7 things that Christians must do during this
time and I am going to give those to you now:
1. Return to God. Jeremiah 4:3 – Break up the fallow ground –
return to Me. Repent. Get on your face before God and ask him to break your heart with the things that break His heart.
2. Mourn. Jeremiah 9:17-18 and Ezekiel 9- It is time to weep
because our nation’s sin is incredible.
3. Pray. Jeremiah 36:7 – Pray fervently, passionately for
America.
4. Love God’s Word. Jeremiah 20 – You MUST love the Word of God and be in the Word of God.
I was particularly convicted here because I know I have not been
as deeply in His Word as I need to be. She said we must get serious about this.
5. Love others as Jesus loved them. Jeremiah 31:3 and John13:34.
6. Introduce people to Jesus Christ. It’s time to get serious
about this. This is no time for timidity. Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah
33:1-9, 15, 17.
7. Rest. If you will do these things, then rest in the fact that
you have done God’s will. She said that it is going to be vitally
important for us to get enough physical rest. She went on to say that
God has not given us a spirit of fear and that if we are obedient to
Him, we will be protected. She said to read Ezekiel 14 over and over until you understand it.

This is what God will do if a country turns against Him. She said
that this is going to be a calamity (she used the word calamity in such a way that you knew this is going to be no small thing for our country), and gave many more scripture references, but what I have given you are the main points that she made.

I hope you know that I would not have sent this to you if I had
not been profoundly affected by it and feel it is of great importance to share it. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will do with this information what you feel led by God to do.

Love in Christ Jesus,
Beth Moore

Notice how different this message is from the incredibly popular book The Prayer of Jabez that taught us that God wanted to increase our blessings if only we’d pray and ask him for such blessings. Why are Christians so quick to believe a different message now? I think that it has something to do with the fact that The Prayer of Jabez was released in 2000 before the events of 9/11 and more importantly before the economic mess that is now reported daily from virtually every media outlet.

In 2000 life was good, the economy was strong, and stock portfolios offered the promise of early retirement. Of course none of that is true today. Our circumstances have changed but God hasn’t. Here’s the point: I don’t think that this false email would have been written, believed, and passed on during strong economic times. This email made the rounds because in a weak economy people are more likely to buy what it’s selling.

I can’t help but wonder if the culture (in this case specifically the economy) is what is really driving our view of God. When our life is going well, we see God a generous grandfather giving us what we want, and when our life isn’t going so well, we see the same God as an angry grandfather harshly disciplining us by taking away our toys and sending us to bed without any supper.

But has the unchanging God changed? Whether or not you personally prosper or the country prospers, God’s promises are true and trustworthy. It is not wise to view God through the lens of GDP or the unemployment rate.

As a side note: Does it seem a bit odd to you that Americans are only now concerned about food shortages and famine? It seems that the only time we Americans really care about the lack of food is when it’s our families that are suffering. Shouldn’t we be concerned when that same thing is happening to people in other places around the world?

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