Faith Reflections


When I was at the prison in Uganda visiting with the men, I had a few inmates ask me if I would send them certain items. I wasn’t surprised. I probably would do the same thing if I were in their shoes and had limited access to new items. One man asked me to send him a guitar. I was fairly confident that I would not be able to do that so I gave him my firm yet gentle regrets.

Two other individuals asked me for reading material. One inmate, who actually serves as the “minister” for the gathering, ask for the publication “Our Daily Bread” – a devotional magazine. I’m familiar with this publication and thought it would be fine to send and a good source of encouragement.

The other request, however, is my dilemma. An inmate asked me for a specific book and I had him write the title and author down for me so I would make sure to get it right. I made it all the way back with this little slip of paper and just last week, I finally got around to checking for it on Amazon, hoping it wasn’t an old book that perhaps is out of print now. To my surprise, it is actually a best-seller. The problem is that the book is written by the prosperity gospel guru, Joseph Prince. (gag, cough, gag) Thus, my dilemma. I hate prosperity gospel. There is nothing sound about prosperity gospel. I think I’d rather send him the Left Behind series and believe me, that is not said easily. The prosperity gospel is very popular in East Africa and it grieves me each time I think of it. So much harm is done in the preaching that God wants to bless you with wealth, property, the perfect family, etc. for your righteous living. There is nothing biblical to support this claim yet millions believe it. Millions send money to organizations like Prince’s. Money they don’t have to send.

So, what do I do? Do I ignore this man’s one request? Do I send him what I think he should have because I think what I believe is better? Do I send him Prince’s book and trust the Spirit to be the Voice of discernment in his life? Do I send it believing there are a lot worse books he could be reading? (A small list but yet maybe anything written by Ann Coulter or by me in the first grade.)

I’d welcome your thoughts and suggestions, friends.


  • Rev Steve magua

    My name is Rev Steve and am originally from East Africa. it is sad how Africa has becoming the dumping ground for all bladderdash gospels and even more sad how "we" drink it all up. This is my advice send him the 'other' gospel book and send him one by John McArthur on the true gospel (he has a couple good ones). Basically that's what god did to us: he sent the law which kill us so that we may well appreciate true grace. But by all means pray for him with many tears (isn't intercession a sweetheart?). May the Lord direct your paths

  • adam

    i was just reading in acts and there were a few occasions where paul was rejected by those to whom he taught, and he basically said “fine, i did my best, but my hands are free of your blood now because i did my duty by trying to reach you.” The argument for sending the prosperity book can be is that God can work through all things. Correct! God can work through a different book as well, one which has more biblically accurate content. So I say give it some good thought, but let the spirit do the real work. I like the idea of sending both with a letter explaining your thoughts, but also having the compassion to grant his wish.

  • mhatfield

    Thank you everyone for you thoughts and responses. I like the idea of sending two books and an encouraging note that God’s love is not reflected in “earthly” blessings. I need to honor his request and as Kate and Ross pointed out, God’s ability to work through any and all things. I do believe that but obviously don’t trust that to be true in all things. Something to work on!

  • Matt Laux

    Leigh Sullins Garvin is correct: Send the guy two books, the crap he chose and something you pick out.
    By the way, I saw that Joey Prince guy on TV the other day. The only thing I was thinking was “And people say I’m burnt”. What exactly is that guy smoking? “You believe in God and He will bless you with riches, can I get an Amen, and all of your troubles will disappear”. I thought I was going to die laughing at that pompous-douche. If Jesus were actually following Mr Prince’s plan I’d be diving into my money-vault like Scrooge McDuck.

  • Kyle

    Seems pretty simple I would think. I’m not familiar with Joseph Prince or his work, but from the blurb it would seem he’d fall under the “false prophet” category. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 is pretty clear, though maybe the “put to death” part could be a bit harsh nowadays. Matthew 7:15-23 is also good. In terms of what to do with the prisoner’s request, I would direct him to the passage from Matthew, explain what I meant by doing so, and send him something a little more productive.

  • Kate

    Although I also am not a fan of prosperity gospel (saying that as polite as I can), I do believe that God is the creator of all and uses all for his work. I am constantly amazed how many I meet that first met Jesus thru those “teachers” or for that matter, many things that most would not consider of God. So I say, send it and let God use it for good. You could also throw in something good for good measure 🙂

  • Ross

    Because God is the ultimate creator, he has the power to name & claim everything….even
    spiritual lameness. God can use ANYTHING for his purpose. Trust me, I’ve got a solid musician
    on the worship team that met Christ through Joyce Meyers – white pumps & all. 🙂

  • genie

    Now that is a dilemma! No easy, pat answers here. I know the temptation to do what you really want to do….what are the ethics here? I will be interested to know what you finally decide to do. What would God want? hmmmm

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