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May 23, 2009

The God of the Institution

In my last blog, "Repair or Demolish" I discussed the difference between Yahweh and the god of organized religion that many of us grew up with. I referred to the religious organizations god as the "cult-god." Rather than attempting to fix your view of Yahweh, I talked about the importance of divorcing the cult-god and starting fresh. Understanding that they are two different people is key to your healing as a Free Believer. It's not a twisted view of Yahweh that we had. It's another god altogether.  

Many people assumed that I was speaking metaphorically about this other god. I assure you that I wasn't. I am quickly coming to the belief that the cult-god of American Christianity is, in fact, a separate entity with a name and specific personality characteristics.   

It is true that whoever a person or group of people chooses to be their god, they will automatically describe the personality of that god in all their teachings and beliefs. I've said for years that American Christianity is completely upside-down from truth on almost every point of Yahweh's Heart. The things we have all grown up hearing about God's personality and character are so far from truth, it's almost comical. How could they be so wrong? If they are not describing Yahweh, who are they describing? I believe that they are unknowingly describing the person they've given their hearts to. They are teaching about the one they love with all their hearts. They can't help themselves. It's a natural phenomena. 

I believe the name of the cult-god we've grown to know is "Mammon."  

mammonMammon is referred to by Jesus as an alternate master. Not even Satan was given that description. Satan was called "the ruler of this world," but even he wasn't referred to as an alternative master that people could serve in place of God. In fact, there is nothing else that I can think of all throughout scripture that is considered a running mate next to God Himself.  

I certainly don't want to appear as just another author that's bringing some lofty, over-the-top accusation against the Christian religion. I honestly feel that the things I am writing here should be pondered and taken into consideration by everyone reading this. Think about what I'm saying and follow it through in your mind. This isn't name calling. This is amazingly accurate, and I'm wondering if anyone else has matched the personalities of Mammon with the modern day Christians description of their god like this. This is a remarkable study that continues to blow my mind every day. The god many of us grew up hearing about is a perfect description of Mammon.  

The church I was a pastor at, made no bones about it each staff meeting. If the offering was good, "God showed up" and if it wasn't, "It lacked the anointing." They gauged God's will by whether or not money came in. Everything had to do with money. When I began preaching freedom and truth in that same church, the people were no longer manipulated with fear to give in the offering. The result was that the offering went dramatically down from what it used to be before I arrived. This was seen by my colleagues as clear evidence that what I was preaching was contrary to the will of god.

You can turn on Christian television any time night or day and within 30 seconds, they'llmoney ask bennyfor your money. They'll give you a long list of blessings and answers to prayer that you'll get if you send them money. TBN and Day Star are obviously extreme examples of Mammon worship. They can take any Bible verse in the world and make it mean something to do with money. They do this because Mammon is their god. They sincerely see him all throughout the Bible. They honestly do.  

I believe that the reason why the American church's spiritual collapse is paralleling our nation's economic downfall is because we share the same god. Ordinarily, a depression in a nation's economy shouldn't affect the church one way or another, but in America, the god of our economy is also the god of many of our churches. They rise together and they fall together.  

As I began to search the internet for websites that talk about Mammon, I was astounded to see how identical his personality is with the god I was told about all my life in the church I was raised in.

One website says that; "Mammon was a Philistine god that was worshipped to bring prosperity." Does this sound familiar to you??? 

Another site states that; "Mammon is an Aramaic demonic spirit that was worshipped as a false god by the Philistines. Mammon desires to be worshipped, have influence, and control of people's lives, to require love and devotion through the use of money." I feel like dragonsI'm sitting in my old church on a Sunday morning. These are attributes that we have all been told belong to God.

In the Dungeons and Dragons game, Mammon is a character who is described in this way: "He is two-faced, vindictive, and arrogant, always looking for imagined insults. Mammon's servants wage economic warfare on good, prosperous nations in an attempt to collapse their economies, hoping that in their desperation the newly impoverished souls will turn to Mammon for salvation. Mammon is known for speaking in riddles, never coming straight to the point even when giving orders. His servants emulate this behavior."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard preachers say that God has orchestrated America's present economic recession because He wants people to turn to Him in the midst of losing everything. The above description is stunningly similar to what most of us believe in our hearts about the personality of God. He has been presented as "two-faced" for as long as I can remember. Jesus and God are polar opposites according to modern day teachings. They are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. God is presented as arrogant, and as always giving us partial information in life so that everything is a riddle.  

When you put Mammon next to Yahweh, the contrast is obvious, and the point I am making becomes even more clear. You tell me which god American Christianity describes to it's congregation: 
 
Yahweh says, "Freely you have received, freely give."
Mammon says, "If you give freely, you will receive."  

Yahweh says, "You are my children."
Mammon says, "You are my servants and slaves." 

Yahweh says, "My children will share in my glory."
Mammon says, "I want all the glory for myself." 

Yahweh says, "I will protect you because I love you."
Mammon says, "Pay me off and then I'll protect you." 

Yahweh says, "I want you to have self control."
Mammon says, "Give me control of your life." 

Yahweh says, "I came that you would have life to the fullest."
Mammon says, "Give your life over to me."  

Yahweh is content with who you are right now.
Mammon is never satisfied and is always trying to change you. 

Yahweh says, "Blessed are you who are poor........."
Mammon says, "If you are poor, you've missed God's blessing." 

Yahweh says, "Jesus Christ died TO sin, to save you FROM sin."
Mammon says, "Jesus Christ died FOR your sins, to save you FROM God."

Yahweh says, "Jesus died to save you from sin."
Mammon says, "Jesus died to pay the price for your sin." 

Yahweh says, "Give because you love."
Mammon says, "Give as a seed, so you'll get a return on your investment." 
 

Whether or not you believe that Mammon is an actual entity is really inconsequential. Thejesus fact is, money does have a personality. Our economy has a distinct temperament and nature, and the historical beliefs about the demon Mammon coincide almost perfectly with what we know to be true about the spirit and character of the world's financial system.  That personality parallels American Christianity's god in an astounding way.  
 
Most pastors and leaders I know never meet Yahweh personally until they resigned from their position in that system. Once they are on their own, without the bills and budget hanging over their head, they are able to open their hearts and see Yahweh for the first time since they joined the ministry. Until that time however, it is nearly impossible for many pastors to see the true heart of Yahweh. 

I certainly don't want to make the blanket statement that every church in America subscribes to this way of thinking. I personally know of many pastors and leaders in American churches who know and love Yahweh very deeply. I think the tendency to chase after the cult-god is something that every one of us will be faced with at one time or another in our lives. Jesus warned us about Mammon for this very reason. When I realized who it was I was serving, I filed for divorce immediately and have never looked back. 

 

Darin Hufford

 


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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    JimT

    "I believe that the reason why the American church's spiritual collapse is paralleling our nation's economic downfall is because we share the same god."

    Wow! Darin, this is such an eye-opener. The side-by-side comparison is stunning. Thank you for sharing these insights. Much to think about. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

  2. Gravatar
    vincent

    -Yahweh says, "Jesus Christ died TO sin, to save you FROM sin."- could someone tell me more about this?
    -Yahweh says, "I want you to have self control."
    Mammon says, "Give me control of your life." - this is probably my favourite difference, still a learning point for me, i have given so much out of my hands, that i don't feel natural to take it back ... thanks darin for this post, it has seperated some mixed views of mine

  3. Gravatar
    onyx

    Right on, Darrin! I have come to see that they were definitely two different gods, but hadn't made the connection to Mammon. It certainly makes sense now. Makes me spit to realise that all those years in the IC I was worshiping a devil!
    Oh, and to add to the list:
    Yahweh heals us and sets us free, then says "Go and sin no more"
    Mammon says "Get yourself right with God so you can be healed"

  4. Gravatar
    onyx

    vincent: check out Romans 6:
    Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

    In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

  5. Gravatar
    David Backus

    Wow! I am impressed with your homework you did on this one. I have been studying the source of pagan gods in comparitive study. I can't believe I overlooked that one. I will definitely add this one to my collection of studies. Thanks a lot for the tip.

  6. Gravatar
    Silas

    Excellent post Darin! I for one appreciate the research and time it took to bring us this thought-provoking analysis of the modern Christian cult-god. With "love" absent in Mammon's agenda, what else is there left to do, but start a religion...? "Religion is for people who don't love."-Darin Hufford (blog response).

  7. Gravatar
    marie

    Thanks Darin. I didn't mean any offense by what I said on the forum while trying to work this out in my mind. This post clarifies a few things. I clearly understand how this applies to the American church in general (it is obvious where I live), but I find it a difficult label to put on individuals who I know and love. I'm still working through this...

  8. Gravatar
    Dana

    This was excellent.

  9. Gravatar
    Miguel Gonzalez

    Darin did you have any clue (or a clear thinking may be) about what god is worshiped here in South America s IC? The same mammon? im not sure but i think its very like your reality in the US

  10. Gravatar
    Douglas Anderson

    It is not only the worship of mammon it is the unwise use of it." Lets see, should I pay to keep the lights on in a building or should I go help a poor family or the homeless with it directly sharing His love with just one of the tools we have at our disposal." I love how you properly BBQ the religious sacred cow. Love ya Bro.

  11. Gravatar
    Shannon Brown

    This is very good Darin - thanks for showing the distinction between Yahweh and Mammon.

  12. Gravatar
    David

    This is very sad but unfortunatly so true at the same time.

  13. Gravatar
    Fran

    The examples of the contrast between Yahweh and Mammon set me off to thinking about contemporary Christian music. I have even thought, "Well, I'll just participate in the worship part of the service and forget about the rest." But the reinforcement of Mammon's control is there also. Dang!

  14. Gravatar
    Jen

    This is radical - shocking, really. Also shocking was to see the word "Money"(interpreted from Mammon)capitalized in the NIV. I did not notice this because I accepted traditional teaching of Jesus referring to my selfish wordly desires, not an entity opposing God. I will ponder your maxim carefully. To accept it requires a major shift in understanding my experience: thinking the IC is making mistakes in perceiving God, to consider worship of a false god and the consequences thereof. What of those who remain? What of salvation and redemption in Christ? This is scary. I am not sure my heart can withstand even deeper mourning for those who cast me out.

  15. Gravatar
    Sue

    My husband always wanted to be a pastor so every church we attended he would sidle up to the pastor and authority there. I truly do not know what his motivation was and I am not sure he did either. We left the system almost 15 yrs ago and about 3 yrs after that we felt Father telling us to take money out of ministry and see what would happen. We never felt so free. He has given us everything we need and are content with what is...and have truly learned what "a fully funded walk of faith" is...we work at whatever is before us and "minister" to whomever he sends ...or not...sometimes we just become friends...love what you are teaching here Darin

  16. Gravatar
    Rose

    This is worldwide and not just America (maybe we have been taught by the best). This has been my heart for years, thank you for putting it in words.

  17. Gravatar
    TLC

    How appropriate is the description of Mammon from D&D. I still struggle with the "showed up" vs "lacked anointing" mentality. When I do struggle, it usually means I need to get up and DO something concrete about it. Thanks for putting this into such a clear picture. I love the addition of the cash to the God/Adam painting. Brilliant!

  18. Gravatar
    tangotildawn

    I had not thought of Mammon enough to look into the differences and how similar it is to the God that the IC worships. This does clear up somethings that I had been struggling with, especially trying to explain what I knew to be wrong and could not see it clearly. I still struggle with the sharing in the Glory, but it makes sense.

  19. Gravatar
    MineStein

    Why does this seem like such a surprise to you all, any 12 year old with a lick of common sense who is forced to sit through just one Church service can tell you this. In every denomination out there,its always the same. THEY SAY- "give until it hurts and then give some more" after awhile you just get tired of hurting and give up on "all" the crap thats being pumped into you. Its not only about the money, they also want to try to manipulate to do the stuff they dont want to do themselves, Its like sitting through a 90 minute timeshare presentation, you know that you have to listen to the line of crap at the beginning in order to get the "gifts" that they are offering for "FREE" and then you get slammed with massive guilt if you dont buy into the deal at the end. what a crock!

  20. Gravatar
    clifford livermore

    how very accurate. i would like to make a comment on the three things neccasary for any kind of ic
    this is not origional with me i first read this in a book about church called the normal christian church life or concerning our mission by watchman nee. number 1 you need a pastor, minister , preist or elder, 2 you need a building for the meeting, and 3 to support all this you need money and a system to get it. have you thought about this as it relates to the temptation of christ by the devil and also about what john said in his first letter about loving the world? finaly the only thing that does not need money and flourishes whithout it is the speaking living and preaching of the true gospel of the love and grace of the true god.
    the lord bless you brother for your right on word.
    cliff

  21. Gravatar
    Krystal

    Thank you Darin for writing this blog article! It was a thought-provoking one, and I thought that the real reason was not answering prayers was becuase He doesn't want our spiritual growth to stagnate. Here's an equation that I believe forms Mammon's name.

    The equation for Mammon:
    "Ma" in Maximon plus the "Mon" in San Simon equals Mammon (with one 'm' missing)

  22. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Krystal.

  23. Gravatar
    Brent

    The god of American religion isn't Yahweh. It isn't even mammon, strictly speaking. It is the pagan god Zeus who is eternally angry and always desires to rain lightning bolts down on us for the smallest wrong we did.

    Funny that, in the Bible, Satan is "the accuser," not God. Yet most of us have grown up with the idea that God is always ready to accuse, and Satan is always the one trying to get us to be free and not worry about judgment. A religious person's god is Mammon, Zeus, and ultimately Satan all rolled into one.

  24. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Very interesting Brent. Great insight.

  25. Gravatar
    benjamin

    T.R.U.T.H. great article, Darin. Keep on sharing His TruthForFree....oops, that's Dave's page. =)

  26. Gravatar
    Buster

    Great blog darin
    1 corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures
    but obviously not to save us from God. I have seen this happen here, that when you give people freedom in offerings there is almost no offering given. In my head I think to my self that people would like to give when there is no strings attached and no guilt given but that doesn't seem to be the case.

  27. Gravatar
    Bonnie

    I too like this article Darin, it is very thought provoking and I like that it gets people talking and thinking in the right direction. I had never thought of this comparison but somehow it makes a lot of sense thank you for sharing with us.

  28. Gravatar
    Robert Hall

    Wow. Amazing!!!! There it is Saints. Here is one for you as well. " Jahovah" Were in the Bible is Jesus or God ever mentioned in this Name TERM?
    Answere: NEVER! IT IS A MADE UP WORD!!!! GODS TRUE NAME IS, YAHWEH.

  29. Gravatar
    jenny

    Very interesting way of looking at it!

  30. Gravatar
    Doug in Denver

    WOW, dude, I now know why God had you in a rock band before this Free Believers ministry. Simply put, you rock.

    Rock on bro

  31. Gravatar
    James Pesch

    How come there are only 5 stars available?

  32. Gravatar
    Billie landers

    Have you ever read the book. Wealth or mammon by ra landers. I think ie would be very interesting if you connected at 217 361 6263....

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