Sunday, August 27, 2006

What? You're Not a Poor, Miserable Sinner, Joyce?

Long before she lost her salvation by abandoning the LCMS church, (for the benefit of all you non-Lutherans, that's a joke - sort of!), popular Missouri evangelist Joyce Meyer laments that she was taught a rather distasteful doctrine. She says:
All I was ever taught to say was "I, a poor, miserable sinner." I am not poor, I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. (Joyce Meyer, From the Cross to the Throne tape, Life Christian Center in Saint Louis, Mo., date unknown)

We dealt with the "not a sinner" part in an earlier post. But what about the "poor, miserable sinner" claim? Does Scripture say that we are poor and miserable?

Paul says in Romans 7:23-25 "I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."

According to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament the Greek word for "wretched" means "miserable, distressed."

How do any of us stand up under the scrutiny of Christ's perfection? Do we measure up? Do we go even one minute without committing some sort of sin? Then, apart from Christ, how are we ever going to hope to measure up to God's requirement - perfection - when just one sin will condemn us for all eternity? No, Joyce, you are a poor, miserable sinner, just like the rest of us, who must rely completely on Christ's atoning work on the cross. When we forget this, pride begins to creep in.

If the Apostle Paul thought of himself as a poor, miserable sinner, what has Joyce Meyer done to warrant thinking of herself as morally superior to Paul?!


At August 27, 2006 4:51 PM, Blogger Whey Lay said...

I heard this review on Issues Etc last year and was slightly stunned by it. It appears Joyce is saying that anyone who believes the classical understanding that they are a sinful, wretched creature, is spouting a doctrine of Satan himself. Where does this put her in relation to the various biblical proof texts showing the contrary.
I guess it's hard to sell self improvement tapes though if people think your no better off than them.

At September 08, 2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you fall off the tracks, ignoring the plain teaching of God's Word.

At December 24, 2007 8:05 PM, Blogger romans7 said...

God Bless for taking the time to expose dangerous errors. I guess it is just another example of the times we live in; people gathering around themselves teachers according to the desires of their own itching errors (oops I mean ears). Let us keep on with truth, in season or out.

At August 05, 2009 8:38 PM, Blogger Sabrina said...

I can understand both Joyce's objection with and also the others herein defense of the confession. I have to say that growing up in a very small LCMS K-8 parochial country school, you would think that we would have all been assured of our salvation. Germans aren't or weren't when I was growing up, known for showing much affection and compassion the way we see Christ demonstrate it in the Gospel. So we, (the kids in our school), really had no clear picture of what that unconditional love was all about. We were constantly reminded of our wrongs in school and at home, rarely our rights. So to top it off and say that you are a 'poor, miserable sinner' every Sunday during a service, only drove that feeling home further! It was very confusing as we felt rather condemned. Since then at least half the class walked away from church entirely or left the synod. As an adult, I now know better that Luther wanted us to recognize our need for repentance by confessing our sin. Is there any evidence that he promoted the idea of our need to CONSTANTLY confess over and over that we are 'PMS's'? Since our sins have already been paid for through Christ's death and resurrection, how can we still OWN them? If Christ truly abides IN US, how can we at the same time define ourselves as sinners? Isn't it more accurate to say that yes,we do sin and struggle with sin, but it is not who we are, it's what we've done. We are no longer under the law or any condemnation, but under grace. I would no more define myself by my occupation, financial status, marital status, etc. These are not 'who I am'. A sinner is not 'who I am'. God made me a child of His, bought and paid for with a price, who will sit one day with Him in the heavenly realms is 'who I am'! This is how He sees me and how He wants me to see myself.

At February 23, 2016 9:24 AM, Blogger Deb Holtz said...

We are simultaneously saint and sinner. We ARE poor, miserable sinners, but by God's miraculous grace, we are, through faith in Jesus Christ, saints! God drowned me in my baptism and raised me up a new creature! I am a sinner, yet Christ has paid for every sin I ever have or will commit. I hope someday that Joyce and others come to truly understand the gift, the relief of being able to stand before God and say, " -- I, a poor, miserable sinner. . . "


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