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Christlikeness Is Something To Long For, Not Be Delivered From (via Randy Alcorn)

Randy Alcorn is supporting his wife, Nanci, through her season of cancer.
God is supporting them both.
He writes about the experience of God using the very situations that nobody wants as the circumstances in which faith and Christlikeness grows:

If asked, “Do you want to be closer to Jesus, and more like him?” we all know what we should say. Yet, if God answered all our prayers for relief from suffering, he would be delivering us from the very thing we say we want. Christlikeness is something to long for, not be delivered from. It’s not easy to pray, “Please do whatever it takes to make me more like Jesus.” But when he does whatever it takes, we should trust him.

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Gospel, Cancer & True Prosperity (via Mockingbird)

Mockingbird has an article by Ethan Richardson that reflects upon the writings of Katie Bowler who has cancer and has recently written on so-called ‘prosperity’ theology.
The interaction of her study on the subject, her sickness, and Richardson’s reflections point out the way in which prosperity theology impoverishes the Christian life as it deals with mortality and eternity.

It is a perversion of the Gospel that physical death and ill-health could be equated with a lack of faith.
Richardson:
“Certainly, no amount of positive thinking is enough to stave off metastasis–but what’s worse, under the conditional framework of the prosperity gospel, your metastasis may be proof of something. It may mean you didn’t believe hard enough or think positively enough.”
Richardson quotes Bowler:
“The prosperity gospel has taken a religion based on the contemplation of a dying man and stripped it of its call to surrender all. Perhaps worse, it has replaced Christian faith with the most painful forms of certainty. The movement has perfected a rarefied form of America’s addiction to self-rule, which denies much of our humanity: our fragile bodies, our finitude, our need to stare down our deaths (at least once in a while) and be filled with dread and wonder. At some point, we must say to ourselves, I’m going to need to let go.”

Read the whole post at Mockingbird.