Published in 2006 and placed into the Museum of Idolatry in 2007, we find the artifact of “Your Best Life Now: The Board Game” still being sold on Amazon today. Apparently the Prosperity Gospel’s attraction does not wane but only grows more attractive with age.
A person named David Harrison wrote a review of the game on Amazon,
This was bought as a joke gift for a friend. Joel has popularized a gospel message that promises an easy, comfortable, and prosperous lifestyle to the Christian. He ignores the fact that God’s primary purpose for us is to make the glory of God known to the world, and instead, Joel promotes an idea that loving God will result in making more money. This game gives us a great example of what is wrong with the prosperity gospel.
This person wrote a hilariously sarcastic review,
This game doesn’t have the same style as those of the Reformation and even earlier. Augustine’s “Hungry, Hungry Bishop of Hippo” set a standard to which Osteen can only dream.
What is the most tragic thing on this page? The fact that such a “game” exists? Yes that’s tragic but…the fact that there exists a five-star review? Yes, that is bad also, but…the fact that even 7 years after this game was published it is still popular enough to have “ONLY 1 LEFT IN STOCK”?!?! We have a winner.
I continue to look toward my go-to prophecy, which I believe is being fulfilled in accelerating train style each day,
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2:3 KJV)
I always use the KJV for this verse because the language is more descriptive. The Greek word for ‘merchandise’ is emporeuomai, from which we get the word emporium, or mall. It literally means “I travel as a merchant, engage in trade; I traffic in, make gain or business of”. We can see the devastating fulfillment of this prophecy any time we go to a Christian bookstore, especially a Lifeway store.
Money tends to corrupt faith and the faithful. We are warned over this so many times. Money itself is not bad. The love of money is. (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus was righteously wrathful over the merchandising of faith in the Temple, and cleansed it with a whip. (John 2:13-22). Ananias and Sapphira became the first Christians in the Church killed for their hypocrisy and it was over the money they’d held back and lying about it. (Acts 5:1-2). The Rich Young Man refused to believe in the Messiah who was standing in front of Him, in favor of the property he owned far off. (Matthew 19:22). Simon the Sorcerer tried to buy the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:19-20).
The mixture of money and faith usually ends up being tragic if one is not careful.
And now we see not just greed and interest in personal wealth climbing to stratospheric proportions but the faithful actually being made merchandise out of.
The next time you enter a Christian bookstore, see how long it takes you to be distracted from buying a serious theological book which will edify you (if they even have any in the store anymore) in favor of buying something tangential, like a game or a praise CD or a gizmo or a piece of jewelry or a set of greeting cards or a huge bejewled cross or a birdhouse or … anyway, the tangential things are seeded around the store like sirens. And I don’t mean the loud clanging bells, I mean the seductive sea creatures who tried to lure mythological Odysseus off his path and onto the shoals in shipwreck.
|The Siren: John William Waterhouse, ~1900|
“A siren call means something that is alluring. It is dangerous and potentially deadly. Even if you know better, the siren call is hard to resist. In Greek mythology, the sirens who allured were sea nymphs beguiling enough to begin with, but with even more enticing voices.” (source)
The Sirens were luscious sea nymphs who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching songs. As Walter Copland Perry observed: “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.”
Merchandising is today’s mythological Sirens. And the wolves do it via smooth talk and flattery- their voices. (Romans 16:8; Psalm 12:2; Colossians 2:4)
The greedy wolves seek to exploit the faith and the faithful with bewitching merchandising songs which lure you from the aisles of the bookstore to the shoal infested waters of games, trinkets, and fluff-filled books that tickle your ears with doctrines of devils and distract you into a fatal lethargy.
Stay vigilant! Don’t buy the merchandise, but more importantly, don’t BE the merchandise.