A video that is circulating on the social media circuit is causing a stir in Christian circles. The video is of the wife of a well known televangelist (and I use the term “televangelist” loosely), tells those gathered in the Texas “mega-church” that one is to, and I quote, “do good for your own self” – for being obedient to God and worshiping Him are not for Him as much as for your own happiness.
When I heard her remarks on the video clip her words reminded me of the words of the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982). What does a Christian using words like “obedience,” “worship,” “God,” “church” have in common with an atheist? Stay with me and you be the judge of whether or not the mega-church starlet and atheist Rand subscribe to the same philosophy.
In the video, as the wife (and co-pastor) of the televangelist stands with her husband addressing the congregation, she says, “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy…So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?” (Click here to see the video).
Now let me get this straight, she is saying that the pursuit of the Christian life is to pursue your own happiness. When we go to church and “worship” we are doing it for ourselves not God. We are to do good for our own selves. What we do we are not doing it for God but we are doing it to make ourselves happy.
Please tell me where what she said is any different from the humanistic atheistic philosophy of Rand which is called Objectivism. In defining her philosophy of Objectivism Rand stated, “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” Rand taught that one is to make choices on the basis of what makes one happy for everyone is entitled to their own happiness.
In Objectivism one’s love is not to be above self-interest, for man’s moral duty is not to sacrifice for others but for himself and his happiness. Man’s highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness. Further quoting Rand “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute “
Read that last quote of Rand carefully, as the only difference between her philosophy and that of the televangelist is you could substitute “God” in the place of “reason.” I call it “Christian Objectivism” as it focuses on the self-interest of man and his pursuit of his own happiness which is man’s highest moral purpose. Christian Objectivism is not about God and the Christ of the cross it is about the worship of my happiness. Is not that the lie the devil told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, “It is not about God and your relationship and communion with Him, it is about your self and your own happiness?”
Unfortunately the brand of “Christianity” being proclaimed by the Huston, Texas based “church” is humanistic to the core. It is a brand of Christianity that is not Christ-centered but man-centered. It is all about man’s happiness not God’s glory and the uplifting of the Christ of the Cross and the provision He has made for sinful humanity. Such Christianity is “me-centered” and exists for the sake of one’s self-interested happiness. Making peace, contentment and happiness our existential pursuit is like trying to catch a butterfly, they are elusive. It is as we seek Jesus for who He is we discover in the process He is the source of that which our hearts long for. Christ is not to be proclaimed as One who is at our beckoning call for the purpose of our happiness, but we are to be at His beckoning call to be His faithful disciples in a world that is contrary to the Christian faith.
Christians must get away from a “me-centered” gospel and realize for the Church the Christ of the Cross is our only true magnetic North. When one substitutes as their guide a humanistic compass the needle will always point away from the atoning work of Christ and focus on man’s happiness not on man’s need for holiness that can only be found in the provision of the cross.
When Jesus issued the call to follow Him He pointed out there was a cross (Matthew 16) involved and that it was not about pursuing one’s self-interest, but it was about pursuing His interest in other people – and that interest was to proclaim His saving work on the cross which alone can forgive one of the blackness of their sin and deliver one from a lost eternity.
It is time the Church abandoned Christian Objectivism, a gospel of self-interest and me-ism, and returned to proclaiming the only hope for a sinful world – the finished work of God’s grace found in the Christ of the Cross who alone deserves all praise and glory.